April 17, 2014 --
Each April, the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany community pauses to focus on its littlest hero — the military child.
Although they don’t deploy or go off to war,they serve their country alongside their service member parents and are affected by those events just the same.
April was designated as the Month of the Military Child by former secretary of defense Caspar Weinberger in 1986 as a way to recognize the sacrifices and obstacles unique to the children of service members.
Here, Col. Don Davis, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, signed a Month of the Military Child proclamation, April 8, in front of the Child Development Center recognizing military children for their service.
CDC preschool children kicked off the ceremony singing, “My Country ’Tis of Thee,” “God Bless America” and waved American flags during “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”
“This is our nation’s most precious resource,” Davis said. “It is important to recognize the military child. They face a lot of challenges while we are deployed, while (spouses) are home by themselves taking care of the home front and moving kids from school to school.”
Davis said although April is set aside to focus on military children, it is done all year long.
Becky Shiver, a mother and manager, Exceptional Family Member Program, Marine Corps Community Services Family Care Branch, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany, attended the proclamation signing.
“Celebrating the Month of the Military Child helps us to remember the entire military family serves our country,” Shiver said. “The Child Development Center takes pride in serving military families and especially the military child. I am grateful my child attends class alongside these smallest of heroes.”
To honor military children for their sacrifices and service, the CDC held a parade Friday.
Some service members held their children’s hands as they walked by their sides while others carried them in their arms during the parade.
Sgt. Anthony Fernandez, supply systems analyst, Logistics Capabilities Center, Marine Corps Logistics
Command, was among several service members who attended the parade.
“It was important for me not only to be there for my daughter, but also for my wife and son and also in support of the CDC as a whole,” he said. “Family is important, with all the time spent at work or on duty, plus training and getting orders to move. Marines are used to it, but we sometimes forget to think about the toll it takes on our little ones. Why not have (a) month devoted to our children.”
The Month of the Military Child Parade is an important annual event celebrated in April by the CDC, according to Dorothy Bryant, director, CDC, MCCS, MCLB Albany.
“We take the time to observe and honor our military families for the sacrifices they make for us every day,” Bryant said. “Many of our military families face deployments often and we are always grateful for their service and when they return home safely.”
She said the Month of the Military Child brings awareness to the struggles military children face every day.
“It is important to celebrate military children because they sacrifice a lot during their parent’s service time as well,” Bryant said. “They are challenged with having parents away for periods of time and also moving from base to base and community to community.”
She continued, “Our goal is to nurture and love them daily and help fill some of the voids they feel while parents are performing military duties. We are forever indebted to our Marines and Sailors.”
According to Bryant, the CDC serves more than 130 children from infants to age 12.
Michelle Ramos, director, Youth/Teen Center, MCLB Albany, emphasized the Month of the Military
Child recognizes all military children, including big kids too, for their contributions to their families and service to the nation.
“At the Youth/Teen Center, we serve youth and teens ages 9-18,” Ramos said. “Over the years, I have seen our youth and teens pitch in when their parent is deployed and say goodbye to their friends because, once again, it is time to move.
“Our military kids are resilient, but it is nice to pause and show appreciation because over the course of their parent’s military career, they make a lot of sacrifices, too,” she added.
According to the Department of Defense 2012 Demographics Profile of the Military Community, there are approximately 2 million military children, ranging in ages from newborn to 22 years old.
The largest percentage of children are between newborn and 5 years of age, 37.5 percent, followed by 6 to 11 years of age, 30.4 percent, and 12 to 18 years of age, 24.9 percent. Only 7.2 percent of DoD military children registered as family members are between 19 and 22 years of age, according to the website, www.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Reports/ 2012_Demographics_Report.pdf.