SAN ANTONIO, May 6, 2011 -- Today is being set aside to recognize the wives and husbands of more than one million active-duty servicemembers, Guardsmen and Reservists.
May 6, 2011, is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which the Department of Defense will mark with ceremonies and celebrations on installations worldwide.
President Barrack Obama noted that spouses are part "of the force behind the force" during his remarks last month to announce a national initiative tagged "Joining Forces," which is aimed at increasing the support of U.S. military families.
"They, too, are the reason we've got the finest military in the world," he added.
Military Spouse Appreciation Day has been observed since 1984, with a standardized date later declared to be the Friday before Mother's Day. This year, the Army reaffirms its steadfast commitment to supporting the hundreds of thousands of wives and husbands of Soldiers stationed overseas and stateside - and those deployed to combat zones.
Additionally, the Army community is recognizing surviving spouses, whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice.
"For any leader, the loss of a Soldier is hard," said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of Installation Management Command. "But the loss that survivors experience is magnitudes deeper and wider."
"To honor the fallen Soldier's service and sacrifice for our nation," Lynch added, "we can do one last thing: Offer support for the loved ones the Soldier left behind."
It is this type of tribute to spouses that is part of Joining Forces, which was launched April 12, 2011, by First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden. Their efforts, based on conversations with military families, will focus on three key areas: employment, education and wellness.
In the area of employment, the first lady said she and Biden will be champions for military spouses as they pursue jobs and advance careers. On education, they'll help spouses continue their education and obtain degrees.
And on wellness, "we're going to remind our nation that just as our troops deserve the best support when dealing with the stresses of war and long deployments, so do military spouses," the first lady said.
And they'll join forces with private industry. Some companies will inform military spouses working at their stores that they'll have a job when they move to a new duty location.
Plus the Chamber of Commerce also is stepping up, Obama said, by encouraging members to hire military spouses and veterans and to find mentors for military wives. The Chamber has agreed to host more than 100 job fairs across the country.
Technology companies, she added, will help connect military spouses and veterans with companies that are hiring and train them in new technologies so they can start their own businesses.
(Additional informational provided by American Forces Press Service)