FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Events are scheduled throughout April on Fort Jackson to recognize the sacrifices of children in military families.

April is the "Month of the Military Child," and this year's theme, developed by the Army Teen Panel, is "Military Kids: Heroes for the Future."

"The purpose of the Month of the Military Child is to honor military children for all the things they end up sacrificing as their parents go to combat or go to unaccompanied assignments," said Cindy Andre-Noel, Child, Youth and School Services outreach coordinator for Fort Jackson. "It's to show them the military realizes they're making sacrifices and to show it appreciates them."

More than 1.7 million children have at least one parent serving in the military. An estimated 900,000 children have had one or both parents deployed multiple times throughout the last ten years.

"Now that troop strength in combat is being drawn down, there's a tendency to just breathe a sigh of relief and think things will all go back to normal," said Lisa Hamlin, IMCOM Child, Youth and School Services director.

Fort Jackson's Month of the Military Child events include:

Saturday -- The Spring Jamboree and Egg Hunt

Children ages 12 and younger are invited to attend the Spring Jamboree and Egg Hunt, which lasts from 10 a.m to 1 p.m., at the Youth Sports Complex.

The event features free activities, games, prizes and an egg hunt. Children will be divided into five different age groups for each egg hunt. Free eco-friendly tote bags will be given to the first 25 families in line. The first hunt begins at noon.

The event will be followed with a screening of the movie, "Hop" at 1 p.m. at the Post Theater. Tickets for the screening are $3, which covers the cost of admission, a small popcorn, small drink and Easter candy.

Saturday -- Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt

Children in middle school and high school can participate in a flashlight egg hunt at 8 p.m. at the Youth Services Center. Participants should bring a flashlight and a bag or bucket to carry eggs.

Monday -- U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum student tours

Fort Jackson elementary school students will tour the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Museum. Students will begin arriving in groups at 8:30 a.m. and will learn about what their mothers and fathers do in the Army.

"We're also going to give them basic lessons on soldiering, such as marching, saluting, standing at attention -- all in an effort to show them how much we appreciate their sacrifices," said Henry Howe, museum curator.

April 13 -- Purple Up!

The second annual "Purple Up! For Military Kids" day is April 13. Everyone is encouraged to wear something purple as a way to thank military children for their strength and sacrifices. Initially a statewide initiative in New Hampshire, the idea has gone viral, and now the majority of the 48 state-level "Operation: Military Kids" programs are helping to turn the once-local event into a national pastime.

April 20 -- Health Rocks

Children from kindergarten through fifth grade can participate in a variety of health and fitness activities, and enjoy a healthy dinner. The event takes place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Imboden Street School Age Center.

April 28 -- Month of the Military Child Family Fun Fair

The Month of the Military Child is capped with a day of free rides, games and other activities, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hilton Field. Food and concessions will be available. The morning begins with the Patriot 5K/Dragon Mile Fun Run at Hilton Field organized by Fort Jackson schools.

Page last updated Thu April 5th, 2012 at 00:00