WASHINGTON, May 11, 2012 -- President Barack Obama signed a proclamation naming today Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

"For more than two centuries, our freedom has been safeguarded by brave patriots who have stepped forward and sworn an oath to defend the principles upon which our Republic was founded," the president said in his proclamation.

"Alongside these selfless heroes," he added, "our nation's military spouses also offer tremendous service and make great sacrifices for our country. On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, we recognize the important role our military families play in keeping our armed forces strong and our country safe."

Obama said while military spouses have everyday roles in society, unlike others, they have the additional responsibilities of supporting their service members by moving often, taking the lead in raising children and making many other sacrifices.

"Our military spouses are a vital part of communities across America and around the world," Obama said. "We know them as our neighbors and friends, colleagues and coaches, teachers and nurses.

"They move from duty station to duty station, picking up their families and careers whenever their country asks," he continued. "They keep their households running while dealing with the strain of deployment. They support our wounded warriors, preserve the legacies of our fallen, and find ways to give back to our country day after day."

Supporting military spouses is a top priority, Obama pointed out.

"The strength and readiness of America's military depends on the well-being of our military spouses and families, and my administration remains committed to ensuring they have the support and resources they deserve," he said.

"Across federal agencies, we have made major investments in education and child care for military families, increased the availability of mortgage assistance to military homeowners, and extended new opportunities for veterans and their loved ones under the Post-9/11 GI Bill," Obama said.

The president noted the importance of the year-old Joining Forces initiative, and how it began because of military spouses' needs for support and resources, such as child care and jobs.

"Inspired by the stories of our military spouses' resilience and service, first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched the Joining Forces initiative to encourage all Americans to recognize, honor and serve our military families," he said.

"In only one year, Joining Forces has rallied American businesses to hire tens of thousands of veterans and military spouses, schools have improved educational opportunities for military children, and the medical community has vowed better care for military families," the president said. "And from small towns to big cities, Americans have shown their gratitude by pledging hours of service and taking on projects that support military families in their communities."

America's service members represent only 1 percent of the U.S. population, Obama said, but "they shoulder the responsibility of protecting our entire nation and defending the ideals we hold dear." Therefore, he added, Americans "share an equal responsibility" to care for the nation's military spouses "who are heroes on the home front."

Military Spouse Appreciation Day honors "the unparalleled contributions of our military spouses," Obama said, and reaffirms America's commitment "to ensuring the priorities of our military families remain the priorities of our nation."

Page last updated Fri May 11th, 2012 at 19:07