By Michael Burkhalter, IMCOMOctober 25, 2011
SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 25, 2011 -- November is Military Family Appreciation Month, with the Army continuing its focus on building strong, resilient families.
Throughout November, families will be recognized and honored in various ways on and off post. Community leaders, businesses and installations are teaming up to sponsor special activities: open houses; Family Fun Nights; dinners; festivals; and sporting-event nights.
Overall, the Army campaign for Military Family Appreciation Month, with a theme of "Taking Care of Those Who Care for You," aims to thank Army families for their sacrifices.
Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of Installation Management Command, noted in his recent column that the Army recognizes the strain families have experienced since 9/11.
"During the last 10 years of conflict, our Soldiers and families have faced challenging situations, and in too many cases, tragedy," Lynch said. "Multiple deployments and too little dwell time have strained their relationships. We owe it to our people to help them build the resiliency needed in coping with their challenges -- with folks coming out stronger and better."
"We have taken a number of steps to assess and build resiliency in our family members," Lynch continued. "The Army is keeping a key promise it made in the Army Family Covenant, fostering an environment in which families can thrive."
Lynch also noted that the U.S. armed forces are now operating in a fundamentally different fiscal reality, adding that IMCOM must find smarter ways to provide services and programs while continuing to support the Army community.
"The Army's budget is smaller than it has been in previous years, and it will get smaller still," he said. "However, a different fiscal reality does not change the reality of what we owe to our families. The Army's commitment to families remains as strong as ever."
Although Military Family Appreciation Month is officially celebrated in November and primarily on installations, the push to support military families continues throughout the year and throughout the nation -- from small-town Main Street to the White House.
In April 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, launched a national initiative, named Joining Forces, that calls on all sectors of America to join forces in supporting and honoring service members and their families.
"This campaign is about all of us, all of us joining together as Americans to give back to the extraordinary military families who serve and sacrifice so much every day so we can live in freedom and security," the first lady said.
"Military families are strong and resilient, and they don't complain," she added. "But this same strength may cause Americans to overlook these families' immense sacrifices. Working together we're going to make sure our military families are never forgotten."
(Additional information provided by American Forces Press Service)