REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama -- Leaders from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command set aside time to appreciate military spouses throughout the command.

USASMDC/ARSTRAT hosted a 2017 Military Spouse Appreciation Day ceremony May 12 with units at Huntsville; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Fort Greely, Alaska; and other locations participating. The event was intended to recognize spouses at each location with a certificate of appreciation signed by their commander.

"For more than 240 years, spouses have supported their Soldiers on the field and on the home front. We owe them a debt of gratitude," said Lt. Gen. James H. Dickinson, SMDC commanding general. "This is an opportunity for the Army to recognize Army spouses for their strength, loyalty and commitment to Soldiers and today's Army. Spouses are an important part of the Army Family and contribute to readiness by allowing Soldiers to remain focused on their missions.

"We wanted to recognize you, and for all the other military spouses who couldn't be with us across our global command, for the contributions you make to our mission success each and every day," he added.

Dickinson said the command honors the spouses of those who have left behind everything they know to join the nation's unbroken chain of patriots. He added that SMDC is committed to giving military spouses the respect, dignity and support they deserve.

He said military spouses exhibit tremendous courage and unyielding faith and the command understands and appreciates the hard work, stress, and anxiety that often comes with being married to a Service Member.

"America's military spouses are the backbone of the families who support our troops during mission, deployment, reintegration and reset," Dickinson said "They are the silent heroes who are essential to the strength of the nation and they serve our country just like their loved ones. You are strong for us and for each other. You give strength to all those you encounter."

Military Spouse Appreciation Day was established by President Reagan in 1984 and is celebrated every year to acknowledge the significant contributions and sacrifices of military spouses.

"What a blessing it is to work for a command that takes the time to honor our dedicated military spouses for their sacrifice in the name of their family," said April Kemmet, executive assistant to the SMDC chief of staff, whose husband, Al Kemmet Jr., served in the Air Force more than 29 years. "I know some awesome military spouses and we stick together through thick and thin. We raise our family, pay the bills and do whatever it takes to move forward while our spouses are deployed. I feel it is a great honor to support my husband whether he was deployed or not. I took great pride in making sure his mind was on his mission and that he knew that things were being taken care of at home while he was deployed.

"God bless America," she added. "On this very special day, we should stop and honor the spouses of uniformed members and commit to praying for them daily and giving them the respect and support they are worthy of."

The day was created to honor the spouses of those who serve; be it in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard. Each year, a day is set aside prior to Mother's Day in the United States to recognize the difference spouses make in the lives of servicemembers.

"Being a dependent of a retiree for many years now, I still feel honored to be recognized as a military spouse," said Di Cochran, program analyst, SMDC Tech Center High Energy Laser Division, whose husband, Garry, served in the Army 29 years. "It was a role that I proudly accepted and enjoyed every experience and memory made. To date, we are still strongly connected to many active-duty members and feel honored when they reach out to seek my advice or pull on my past 29 years of experience as a proud military spouse.

"To the current active-duty spouses, enjoy the ride, cherish the experiences, make as many friends and memories as possible," she added. "You will find this time will pass way too quickly."