FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Military spouses will be recognized Monday on Fort Jackson during Military
Spouse Appreciation Day. Fort Jackson will celebrate the annual event at the Joe E. Mann Ballroom with refreshments and various activities, sponsored and coordinated by Army Community Services.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which is celebrated across the Army and all branches of military service, acknowledges the ever-changing and challenging mission of military spouses, their work, contributions, courage and never-ending support.

There are so many stories that illustrate the tremendous support and sacrifices that Army spouses have made over the years and continue to make each and every day. Personally, I appreciate and relate to what my own wife has managed to do in supporting my family and the Army during our almost 27 years of marriage. How she and countless other great Army spouses do what they do -- and maintain their sanity!-- is a source of never-ending amazement for me, as well as heartfelt gratitude.

I am sure that all married couples share their own personal feelings.

Couples make up the majority of the Army, with slightly more than 56 percent of all Soldiers being married. And, dual couples constitute nearly 10 percent of our Army.

The role of a military spouse is not easy, by any means, considering that marriage in itself can present its own set of challenges. Being the spouse of an Army member demands exceptional skills. The spouse often goes above and beyond the call of duty, summoning tremendous strength, understanding, patience, sacrifice, endurance and adaptability; and that's just for starters.

It is no secret that the efforts from our spouses go a long way in making us Army Strong, or should I say, "Army Stronger'" Soldiers and leaders at all levels can relate to the types of sacrifices and dedication Army spouses have embraced and managed and that their continued support is critical to the Army mission in general.

They have shown courage in dealing with multiple deployments and relocations, while gracefully coping with changes that await them at every corner and intersection. Many spouses are forced to have portable careers because of deployments and relocations. Incidentally, our on-post ACS office is offering four free seminars this month dealing with career topics and jobs.

The current Army spouse proudly carries on the proud tradition that has been going on for more than two centuries. In the 1800s, the Army protected settlers moving westward and Army spouses braved the journey and the challenges of frontier life. They drove or rode in animal-drawn carts and wagons, and often even walked. They battled harsh weather, disease and attacks while coping with military life.

Present-day spouses also must be enterprising as they continue to cope and manage an ever-changing landscape. The Army recognizes the multitude of sacrifices that families make every day and to continually acknowledge the fact that the strength of our Soldiers comes from the strength of their families.

Our Army has a presence in 80 countries, with over 235,000 Soldiers deployed around the world, and has been engaged in war for almost a decade.

Meanwhile, spouses continue to put the welfare of their Soldiers, families and the nation above their own. Again, Fort Jackson will recognize its spouses Monday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Joe E. Mann Ballroom. There are plenty of activities, free gifts and refreshments planned. I encourage you to attend and acknowledge the significance of this day.

Army Strong and Victory Starts Here!