April is designated as the Month of the Military Child – a time to honor the sacrifices made by military families worldwide, with an emphasis on the experience of the dependent children of military members serving at home and overseas.
Keller Army Community Hospital will recognize this by participating in the “Purple Up! For Military Kids” campaign – wearing purple on Friday, April 13, 2018.
“Purple” in this case indicates that all branches of the military are supported: Air Force blue, Army green, Navy blue, Marine red, and Coast Guard blue all thought to combine together as a single color, purple.
This campaign is a small effort to show that we understand the sacrifices of the military child. There are nearly two million “total-force dependent children” including more than 900 thousand Army dependents, 400 thousand Air Force dependents, nearly 300 thousand Navy and approximately 118 thousand Marine dependents.
The familiar Hollywood trope of the “military brat” brings to mind the notion of military families who constantly move from base to base, overseas and stateside, experiencing a seemingly never-ending series of short-term homes, jobs, and schools.
That can and sometimes is the experience of military families, but the “hidden” side to military life includes “with dependents” assignments at bases in Japan, Germany, and elsewhere. Some military children never attend a stateside K-12 school; they grow up getting their education via DoDDS schools on the same military bases their parents live and work at.
The military child experience also includes situations where the family itself never leaves the United States, but the military parent(s) still serve overseas and at remote bases in Alaska, North Dakota, and Montana. Sometimes the entire family packs up and moves, other times the military member goes on assignment or a deployment without the family.
There are many situations that fall somewhere between these two examples; the military child is expected to support the mission by understanding the needs of the parents to deploy, to relocate, and to put the family’s needs second to the call of duty.
Children bear a difficult burden as Department of Defense dependents; they don’t always fully understand what’s going on when the parents deploy or get re-assigned, but they are always part of the military’s attention when it comes to supporting these families at the same time as accomplishing the mission.
Please join us as we recognize the nearly two million military children within the West Point Community, domestically and around the world.