Everyone recognises what an honourable job military personnel do on a daily basis. On the news, we often hear about the ultimate sacrifice soldiers all the way across the world have made in order to protect their nation from those who threaten innocent civilians. We are always moved by these stories, our minds struggling to comprehend the enormous courage, determination and heroism these individuals possessed that allowed them to give up their lives so we, the civilians, may continue to live safe lives, free of oppression and terror. However, it seems that in we all too often forget about one of the most important things to these soldiers, and many times the only thing that keeps them going even in the most unbearable conditions—their spouses. The spouses of those fighting foreign wars spend years supporting their husbands or wives, praying for them, constantly fearing for their safety, staying up late at night waiting for some sign of life. It is also these spouses that are forced find a way to go on with their lives when their husband or wife is killed in one of these wars, left only with memories of them. And even when a military spouse’s husband or wife does finally come home, the hardships are far from over, as up to 30% of war veterans may suffer PTSD for years, with symptoms ranging from nightmares to emotional detachment to alcoholism or drug abuse. Whatever your views on foreign policy, there is no question that military spouses’ lives are full of sacrifice, a sacrifice we should remember and be grateful for.
The History of Military Spouse Appreciation Day
Military Spouse Appreciation Day originated in the United States during the 1984, during the height of the Cold War. It was created by President Ronald Reagan, who wanted to raise awareness about just how much spousal commitment helps military personnel get through the worst of times, as well as celebrate the immense love these husbands and wives have for each other that makes this commitment possible. Since then, every US President has celebrated the day each year and has encouraged the world’s population to do just the same, recognising not just the risk which military personnel expose themselves to every day of the year, but also to the supportive families who make their many struggles bearable. The holiday takes place the Friday preceding Mother’s Day.
How to Celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day
As mentioned before, spending years fearing for the life of a spouse takes a profound toll on a person’s psychological and emotional well-being, so military spouses will definitely appreciate even small signs of support from others. If you wish, you could make a donation to one of the organisations dedicated to helping military spouses. You could also opt for a more personal touch, and help assemble and distribute gift packs to military spouses. It is also possible to send a simple thank-you card to a military spouse. The gesture may not seem too grand, but it could do a great deal to cheer up a lonely, worried military wife or husband. There are also plenty of other little things you could do all on your own to help make a military spouse’s life a bit easier, like offering to help mow the lawn or watch his or her children every now and then. How you decide to celebrate this Military Spouse Appreciation Day is up to you, the important thing is to find a way to show these people the respect and compassion they deserve.