CAMP RED CLOUD -- As we head into the final weeks of March we find ourselves closing in not only on the arrival of spring but on three very worthy events on our nation's annual calendar for April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Month of the Military Child.All three should resonate with us in Area I in a special way because we are not only a community of adults and children -- in our case, military children -- but because we are a caring, close-knit, supportive community.The goal of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.This -- preventing sexual assault and harassment -- is the top priority within our military and for the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno.As Gen. Odierno has said of sexual assault and harassment in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, "These crimes violate everything our Army stands for and they simply cannot be tolerated."I think we've made very good strides here in Area I, and that's all the more reason to take this occasion to remind our Area I community to live the Army values and be ready -- always -- to do the right thing.
If you see sexual assault or harassment happening or on the verge of happening, step in and short-circuit it right then and there.This is at the core of the Army's I. A.M. Strong campaign. It aims to engage all Soldiers in preventing sexual assaults before they occur, hence I. A.M., for Intervene, Act and Motivate.All members of our community have a duty to Intervene, to Act and to Motivate others to stop sexual assaults and to curb the kind of sexually offensive language and gestures that create a climate favorable to such abuse.Child Abuse Awareness Month has been observed each April since 1983. It's dedicated to prevention of child abuse and neglect, and to educating parents and communities about warning signs and the help that's available.It also emphasizes that the safety and well-being of children is a shared, community responsibility, and that's something we here in Area I continue to emphasize.We can keep our eyes open for the well-being of the children we see around us. It only takes a moment to check whether a child is okay, or to reach out to a parent who's clearly under stress.The Month of the Military Child was established by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger to underscore the important role children play in the Armed Forces community.I myself grew up in a military family so I know first-hand that our military children are moving through the formative stages of their lives with a special set of challenges -- and opportunities -- that go with growing up as part of our military family.Observance of the Month of the Military Child recognizes and affirms Army families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make in supporting our Army.And Area I will of course be no exception to this. You'll soon be seeing announcements of such events on our Area I Facebook page and other media. They'll be for such things as a Month of the Military Child/Child Abuse Awareness Fun Run and Stroller Walk, a Family Day outing and other activities.So as April draws near and with it the observance of these three major campaigns, we?'re reminded afresh of our ongoing responsibility to keep Area I a place of safety, dignity, and well-being for all members of our community, Soldiers, civilians, and of course, for our children.