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April an Opportunity to Salute Military Children

  • Published
  • By Maj. Travis Mueller,
  • Joint Force Headquarters - Pennsylvania National Guard

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – Though the label “military brat” is worn with pride by those who grew up in military families, many outside that lifestyle are unaware of just what those children go through, good and bad.

Each year, the Department of Defense joins national, state and local governments, schools, military-serving organizations, companies and private citizens in celebrating military children and the sacrifices they make, especially every April during the Month of the Military Child.

Started in 1986 by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, the Month of the Military Child allows Americans to celebrate military children for their service on the homefront and in their communities.

According to the DOD, more than 1.6 million military children face challenges and unique experiences due to their parents’ service. Some of those challenges include moving away from friends, separating from their parents for long periods or seeing their parents come home physically or mentally hurt.

Of those 1.6 million military children, approximately 11,200 are children of Pennsylvania National Guardsmen who go through many of the same struggles as children of active-duty service members but lack access to the same kinds of programs, services, and community offered to those active-duty children.

The Pennsylvania National Guard’s Child and Youth Program, in conjunction with the State Family Programs office, offers support to children of Pennsylvania Guardsmen. The Child and Youth Program implements training and readiness programs for military youth. It also provides child and youth referral and resources to service members and families to reduce the challenges that arise from military service.

Throughout April, the Pennsylvania National Guard encourages service members, families and friends to show their support for military children by wearing purple and using the hashtag #purpleup on social media.

April 15 is designated as “Purple Up! Day,” when people are especially encouraged to wear purple. Some states, localities or schools may select different dates.