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Little heroes-We salute military children

Hollywood, MD- April is the Month of the Military Child. It’s sponsored yearly by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy. The late former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger established April as the Month of the Military Child back in 1986.

This month will honor the sacrifices made by military children around the world. Since September 11, 2001, more than two million children have had a parent deploy--half of them have experienced two or more deployments during their childhood.

Since being established in 1986, there has been a huge increase of awareness campaigns and a growing number of activities on military bases and in the communities designed for recognizing the needs of military children.

Young military dependents prove to be incredibly resilient as they move from base to base, sometimes overseas, leaving behind friends and family. It can sometimes seem like a never-ending series of short-term homes and schools.

In addition to dealing with multiple moves, children of service members also have to learn to cope with the multiple deployments of either one, or both, parents. While they might not fully grasp why they’re parents are leaving, they are supporting the mission of the military.

Often times, military kids thrive in their ever-changing world—but it requires a supportive environment to help them adjust and get through those difficult times.

There are 1.7 million dependent children worldwide who have a parent or parents who are serving the U.S. Armed Forces.
     - Navy- 297,809
     - Army- 911,346
     - Marines- 117,359
     - Air Force- 431,851

Here are a few facts you might not know about life as a military child:
- The average military family moves every two to three years—three times more than the average civilian family.

-The average military child will change schools six to nine times.

Deployments typically last one year—meaning children have to rely on emails, letters, phone calls and the occasional Skype chats to keep in touch with their parent(s).

Occasionally, both parents will be deployed at the same time. There are about 84,000 dual-military couples in the United States and nearly half of those couples have children. When they both deploy, children often live with grandparents or other relatives during that time.

Military children are twice as likely to join the military. Being a military dependent often prides a deep sense of pride, commitment and love of our country that’s difficult for other children to understand unless they’ve lived that life.

Military children have parents who miss birthdays, holidays, sporting events, and other major childhood milestones---but they persevere and cope with the struggles of the military lifestyle—for this is the only life they know.

We salute all military children!

Joy Shrum at j.shrum@thebaynet.com

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