A poster on a stand thanked military spouses for their ongoing support. A ceremonial cake on a small table was ready for cutting, but one important ingredient was missing.

"Are you a military spouse?" Army Community Service director Sue Paddock asked a woman shopper. She wasn't but a military spouse arrived shortly and agreed to cut the cake for a photo opportunity.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day was celebrated Friday at the Redstone Exchange.

"This is a combined effort with ACS, the Exchange and the Commissary to honor military spouses today," Paddock said.

Cheri Carney, the designated cake-cutter, is the wife of Maj. Jason Carney of Redstone Arsenal. She smiled for the camera with their three children: Jacob, 11, Caity, 8, and Julia, 4. The Carneys arrived in July 2010 from Wiesbaden, Germany, and will be here two more years with the major's new assignment.

"I think it's a great thing," Cheri Carney said of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, "because the military spouse is the backbone that's the helper. And for them to be recognized I think is a wonderful thing. And when the whole family unit is appreciated and happy, it makes for a better worker."

Military spouse Cecille Peebles was shopping that morning with her husband, National Guard Sgt. David Peebles, and their 3-year-old son, Jaiden. Their daughters, 10-year-old Arianne and 7-year-old Mattie, were in school. The family resides in New Market.

After taking their turn posing with the cake, Cecille Peebles was asked her thoughts about Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

"It means they recognize the wife also of the military for supporting the husband for what they do," she said.