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Remember the sacrifices they make
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Since the tragedy of 9/11, our nation and its communities have experienced a heightened awareness of the sacrifice and service of military members and emergency response personnel.  Americans as a whole are a charitable and thoughtful people, and always seem generous with our time and outpourings of goodwill towards those who serve.
Now, in the month of April, it is time to recognize another group of Americans who have sacrificed their all for the good of the nation during this time of persistent conflict.  It’s not a group one might think of immediately, but upon reflection it’s easy to recognize the sacrifice involved.
I am referring to the children of military service members, and April is the Month of the Military Child—a month set aside to recognize the sacrifices of these Americans who also give their all for the nation.
As a kid, I never had to watch my father or mother pick up and leave the home for years at a time, all because it was their job.  Nor did I have to face the reality that my parent who was away could very likely not come back…ever.  These things were absolutely foreign to me as a child, yet this is the very thing hundreds of thousands of military children have done, and continue to do, every single day.
 Now that I’m a grown man, and am serving as a Soldier with children of my own living with us in Richmond Hill, I see what it means to be an “Army brat.”  They’re a special breed, filled with life experiences well beyond their years.  For example, we’ve moved our three boys no less than seven times in the past 15 years, and I’d say that was about average for a kid in today’s military families.  
These frequent moves have exposed my boys to new cultures and people.  We’ve lived in Europe, the South, deep South, Midwest, and the nation’s capitol.  Each time they’ve been forced to change and adapt, sacrificing their friends and the familiar surroundings of the place they just left.
These sacrifices by military kids are all made to allow their serving parent to continue doing the job that is so necessary to the defense of the nation.  If these kids didn’t make these sacrifices, many of us simply wouldn’t serve any more.  It wouldn’t be worth it.
So this month, I ask all Americans to consider the service of our military children.  If you know someone in the military with children at home, give them a call, send a letter, or write an email.  Tell their kids that you recognize the sacrifices they have made for the good of the country and you appreciate them.
It’s not hard to do, and it’s a gesture that will cause pride to well up in their chest, knowing that what they do and who they are is special.  It’s a sacrifice so exceptional that, in the opinion of this humble Soldier, we could not do our job without them.

Allen is the public affairs officer for Task Force Marne, currently deployed in northern Iraq.  Maj. Allen grew up in Chicago’s South Suburbs but is currently calling Richmond Hill home with his wife and three boys, Alex, Jake, and Ben . The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S.Government.

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