WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 6, 2009) - President Barack Obama has proclaimed November 2009 as Military Family Appreciation Month.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston signed a letter recognizing the observance and expressing their commitment to military families.

"Never before in the history of the Army have we asked so much of families," the senior leaders stated. "They stand tall during deployments and welcome our Soldiers home with open arms. They hold our Army together during good times and bad - often without fanfare or recognition. Army families continue to be the vital link between Soldiers and the Army's ability to maintain ready and responsive forces."

A proclamation signed by the president Oct. 30 pledged his support and appreciation for military families: "The strength of our Nation is measured not just by our success on the battlefield, but also by our ability to support those families who have made so many sacrifices for us."

"Time and again, military families have shown their heart in the face of adversity," Obama said. "We have a solemn obligation to ensure that while our men and women in uniform discharge their duties, we do all we can to promote and preserve the well-being of their families. We must also support the families of our wounded warriors and our fallen heroes who have paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy."

Many installations are celebrating Military Family Appreciation Month by hosting special events throughout the month.

"The opportunities highlighted for Military Family Appreciation Month are just a small part of what we at Fort Riley provide for our families every day," said Col. Kevin Brown, Fort Riley garrison commander. "Whether our Soldiers are at home or deployed, it's important for our Families to stay connected, learn from others and support each other."

In 2007, Army leadership signed the Army Family Covenant, a pledge recognizing and pledging commitment to Soldiers and their families. Its purpose was to provide resources that will improve quality of life commensurate with the service of Soldiers and their families; create a supportive environment and enhance strength and resilience.

The covenant was re-signed Oct. 5, 2009 by McHugh, Casey and Preston at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

"I wanted to be here today to symbolically re-sign it to assure you that all that is embodied in that pledge are things I believe..." McHugh said at the re-signing. "We will succeed with this program because it is the very least that we can do to serve all of you."

Families are the strength of Soldiers and the nation and are an integral part of the Army's overall success during deployments, Army senior leaders said. In their letter recognizing Military Family Appreciation month, they concluded:

"We extend a heartfelt thanks to all of the Army Families who serve side by side with our Soldiers, endure their hardships and provide the unconditional love and support that truly make our Army strong."

Related Links:

Military Family Month Senior Army Leader message