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NEWS | April 2, 2009

DoD celebrates military children in April

By American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Defense Department and communities throughout the world will continue the 23-year tradition of recognizing the importance of military children in the month of April.

The Month of the Military Child, first celebrated in 1986, is especially important today, said Arthur J. Myers, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.

"Children are our nation's unsung heroes," Myers said. "This month-long recognition is a time set aside to acknowledge the important role that children play in the lives of their military parents and express appreciation for their service. This is our chance to thank them for being so supportive of their parents."

About 1.9 million children are part of the military family, and more than two-thirds have had a parent deploy, Myers said. Their role is unique and quietly significant.

"The military lifestyle is tough for kids," he said. "Multiple moves, new schools, saying goodbye to old friends, needing to make new friends -- none of this is easy. And there are many missed special occasions and developmental milestones because of military duties.

"While military parents know this and respect the sacrifices their children make, the nation is largely unaware," he continued. "This is why April is such an important month in military communities. The activities and special recognition help to express gratitude for these contributions."

Military installations, schools and local communities around the world will host ceremonies and special activities throughout the month. Myers encourages families to participate.

"We are grateful to our many community partners who join in this salute," he said. "Let's remember that kids serve, too."