4/3/2007 - SAN ANTONIO (AFNEWS) -- They never raised their right hand and pledged to defend their nation, but they still make sacrifices for their country. The contributions of military children will be celebrated across the Defense Department as April is designated as Month of the Military Child, and the spirit of the event will be felt by military families, including members at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.
(Media-Newswire.com) - 4/3/2007 - SAN ANTONIO ( AFNEWS ) -- They never raised their right hand and pledged to defend their nation, but they still make sacrifices for their country.
The contributions of military children will be celebrated across the Defense Department as April is designated as Month of the Military Child, and the spirit of the event will be felt by military families, including members at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo.
Officials at Whiteman AFB are conducting a mock deployment April 28, named Operation Spirit, to celebrate the month. Operation Spirit will give military children a chance to tour the flightline, process through a deployment line, see a pallet building demonstration, and watch a military working dog demonstration. The goal of the event is to educate children about the military, said Tech. Sgt. Karen Simpson, the readiness NCO at the Whiteman AFB Airman and Family Readiness Center.
"As military members, I think we sometimes take for granted some of the great things we do on a daily basis," she said. "Often we don't realize how much our children don't understand our jobs."
The sergeant is a mother of three and said she believes there is nothing more important than educating military children about what their parents do for a living.
Children can sometimes draw negative conclusions about the military through coverage in the media, Sergeant Simpson said. By simply talking to your children and explaining to them how the military works, you can greatly drop a child's level of anxiety before a big deployment.
"They are devastated that you have to leave and don't understand why you have to go," Sergeant Simpson said. "If you make them feel special and help them understand your mission, it helps make the separation more tolerable for them."
Amy Howard is also a mother of three. Her husband, 2nd Lt. Joseph Howard, is currently training to become a pilot. She is not new to the military environment, though, as her husband was previously enlisted. She said she thinks it is great military children have their own month to be recognized, but believes the children should be thought of all year.
"Parents should do the same things they do every month, which is provide a stable, loving and secure home environment," she said. "All children, especially military children, need to know that their needs will be met. They need to know that no matter what happens, they are loved and they will be taken care of."
Sergeant Simpson said it is a great feeling to see a child recognize what their parents do for the country and their part in supporting that mission.
"They realize the positive things that the military does and that they are exceptional people for what they have to sacrifice for their parents," she said.
Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger established the commemoration in 1986. by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee Air Force News Agency
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