By Jacqueline M. HamesMay 8, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 8, 2008) - Army installations across the nation are honoring military spouses Friday with ceremonies, social events, spa treatments and gifts.
As a part of Military Spouse Day, some installations are providing spouses with off-base outings, bowling nights and free coupons for events, in addition to more traditional recognition such as luncheons.
President George W. Bush declared May 9 to be Military Spouse Day in a proclamation issued Tuesday.
"Our nation benefits from the sacrifices of our military families, and we are inspired by their courage, strength and leadership," Bush said.
Twenty-four years ago, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation officially recognizing Military Spouse Day. The commemoration is held the Friday before Mother's Day every year to show appreciation for the sacrifices of military spouses.
Several Army installations are hosting special recognition ceremonies and luncheons in recognition of the day. Five installations are holding bowling nights and offering free gifts, four are holding spa days, and three are giving away coupon packages for social activities.
Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, is showing its appreciation for spouses with a day-trip to a local attraction off the installation, in addition to holding a separate spa day trip.
Fort Meade, Md., sent three buses filled with spouses to a special breakfast at the White House Wednesday, where they met the President and "had a blast," officials said.
On Oct. 17, senior leaders signed the Army Family Covenant, in which the Army pledged to support Families while Soldiers are deployed and dedicated $1.4 billion to improve quality of life for families Armywide. Installations across the globe have followed suit in signing family covenants acknowledging Families are where the strength of a Soldier comes from.
The support of spouses and families is vital not only to the Army, but throughout all military services, Adm. M.G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a written statement for Military Spouse Day.
"They (our spouses) may not carry a pack, drive a ship or fly combat missions," he said, "but the vital link they represent to all things home sustains and improves the moral of entire units."
During a special ceremony May 6, President Bush honored six spouses from across the services. Bush recognized Army wife Colleen Saffron, founder of Operation Life Transformed, and Army Reserve wife Dawnle Scheetz, founder of Operation School House.
"Military spouses embody the courage, nobility of duty and love of country that inspire every American," Bush said.