History of Military Spouse Day
The first Military Spouse Day was celebrated on April 23, 1984. President Ronald Reagan started the tradition with a presidential proclamation. He intended it to be a once-only event. Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger made it an annual observance, the second Friday of May.
We all know about the sacrifices that the military makes for the nation and citizens. But what about the military families? Moving around the country, sometimes around the world. Celebrating holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions without a special family member. Watching the calendar as lonely months trudge along. Crying over goodbyes, sometimes eternal. Reuniting when their loved one comes home, setting an emotional rollercoaster on the track.
Through all of this, the military spouses keep the fires burning. They try to stay strong for the family at home. It’s not easy to be brave and encourage others to do the same, especially when they’re falling apart inside. Their support from afar is one of the biggest ways to boost morale.
How You Can Help
Emotional support is a big one. When you interact with a military spouse, it might be difficult to know what to say. Sometimes it’s not a matter of speaking, but listening. Let them tell their story, and you might just find common ground.
Another way you can help is a “pay it forward” gesture. There have been stories of people who pay a military family’s check at a restaurant as a random act of kindness. You can also ask if they need help with anything – then make sure to follow through when you commit.
A great way to help is by facilitating the reunion. Help the kids make a welcome home sign. Help the spouse have a “personal day” so they look their best. Learn what their military family member looks like so you can point them out from a distance.
If you don’t feel comfortable giving one-on-one help, try to step out of your comfort zone. In the meantime, you can donate to organizations that help military spouses – one of them being Angel Wings for Veterans. It might be difficult to help at first, but it’s worth it in the end.
The military serves in ways that we’ll never be able to repay. Their spouses go through challenging ordeals as well. We might not be able to fill their shoes. We might not be able to follow in their footsteps. But we can help them along their path, waiting for their loved one to come home.