Tanner Beard-Manning, 10, has his fingerprints taken by Sharon Ward, Ladies Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Saturday, when checking in for Operation Junior Heroes on Fort Huachuca.

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- What do Bill Cosby, Shaquille O\'Neal, Priscilla Presley, Bruce Willis and Reese Witherspoon all have in common' Along with a long list of other celebrities, they all had a parent who served in the U.S. military.

According to the Department of Defense, in the U.S., there are currently more than one million children nationwide with at least one parent serving. While these children aren't celebrities per se, they all certainly deserve to be celebrated.

The children of military personnel are our future generation, and we choose to honor them in the month of April not only to recognize the unique challenges they face but to bring awareness to the sacrifices they will inadvertently have to make.

In 1986, the former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger declared April as the Month of the Military Child. As a World War II veteran and father he undoubtedly observed firsthand the challenges military children have faced. Since then, April has served as a time to honor and recognize the children of military personnel who are making innumerable sacrifices every day.

These children face unique hardships, such as the recurring deployments of parents who are often deployed to a war zone or other hostile location.

Military children also relocate more than the average child, sometimes moving in excess of six or seven times in ten years. Educationally speaking, these children change schools more than their civilian counterparts. High school students often do not make it through the same school all four years. They also face more uncertainty than most children.

Military children do not know what tomorrow will bring, and a good portion of their childhood will be spent under the supervision of only one parent or guardian. Some might choose to say that military kids have the deck stacked against them, while others will contest that being a military child makes you stronger and more adaptable because of the challenges you do face.

Most military children will travel to exotic places and experience other cultures they would not have been able to do had their parent not been in the military. They also learn to cope with life and the changes it brings with more fluidity.

Military children also feel a sense of pride and patriotism that the children of civilians in most instances aren't fully capable of comprehending. However you choose to look at it, most will agree the children of military personnel deserve our special recognition not just in April, but during each month of the year.

All branches of the military celebrate the Month of the Military Child in their own unique way. Fort Huachuca will offer several events and services this month. On April 10 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.at the new Child, youth and School Services Child Development Center Annex, Building 49055, Cushing St., Fort Huachuca leadership and Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation will celebrate the Month of the Military Child.

The Fort Huachuca community is invited. There will be activities for the entire family including games, entertainment, guest speakers, giveaways, information booths, free food and more. For more information, call Army Community Service, 533-2330.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16