April is designated as a month for the nation to join together in raising awareness about the importance of preventing child abuse. The Blue Ribbon campaign was initiated by a grieving grandmother in Virginia who lost her grandson at the hands of his abusive father. The blue ribbon was a reminder of the bruises on the body of that little boy.

In 2008, Pinwheels for Prevention launched a national campaign using the blue and silver pinwheel as their unifying symbol. Each spring, Pinwheels for Prevention sends out the call for communities to plant pinwheel gardens. Their mission is to raise awareness and prevent the abuse and neglect of the nation's children.

People passing by will look at a garden display created from blue and silver pinwheels and enjoy its beauty. People will stop for a moment, perhaps they will briefly think of the tragedy of child abuse, and then they will move on.

In 2012, the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Family Advocacy Program led the first pinwheel parade on post. FAP chose to organize a Pinwheel Parade for many reasons. The first reason begins with the meaning behind the pinwheel.

A pinwheel is made up of many petals. Each on their own are pretty and might catch someone's eye, but alone it can do nothing. Together, with a single point joining them, the petals can take action.

A pinwheel will blow if there is wind. It will react, but only when there is wind.

When a person picks up a pinwheel and faces it forward, the motion of walking causes it to turn. It's action versus reaction.

A parade will stop traffic. A parade commands notice. A parade requires a group to be of one mind. There is a leader but without the unit there is no parade. A parade involves a community in a unifying purpose.

JBM-HH challenges you to pick up your pinwheels and have a parade for prevention. Don't passively wait for the wind to cause you to react. Take action, find a leader, plot a course, have a unifying drum beat and move forward. Together we can create the wind and bring the changes needed to raise awareness about the reality of child abuse.

Join the Families of the Cody Development Center, the JBM-HH Family Advocacy Program, and an element of The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, led by Joint Base commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter for the 2nd annual Pinwheel Parade April 3. The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Cody Child Development Center on the Fort Myer portion of the joint base. For additional information contact Karen Holmes, FAP community educator, at 703-696-6511.