In America, we find a multitude of ways to show our appreciation for those who answer the call to serve the country via military service. On special holidays, we honor our current and retired military members, and we gratefully remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. It’s important, however, that we also show our appreciation to all the military spouses who go the extra mile to keep homes and families together and operate smoothly while their loved ones serve.
We show our gratitude on National Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which is observed each year on the Friday before Mother’s Day. This day was established in 1984 through a special proclamation by President Ronald Reagan, who recognized the importance of spousal commitment to the readiness and well-being of military members. In 1999, Congress officially designated Military Spouse Appreciation Day as part of National Military Appreciation Month.
This year, the holiday is celebrated on Friday, May 6. It’s the perfect opportunity to honor the approximately one million spouses of active-duty service members, Reserve and National Guard members. These individuals may not wear uniforms, but their service to their country is invaluable.
The Life of a Military Spouse
The commitment of our service members is significant. We also ask much of our military spouses. It’s important for us all to remember that their lives may include unique challenges:
- Military families tend to move to a new duty station every two or three years.
- Frequent moves often mean military spouses end up living far away from friends and family.
- During times of deployment, military spouses must manage all aspects of life on their own, while missing their partner and potentially being concerned for their safety.
- While a return from deployment is very exciting and welcome, this period of reintegration into the marital and family relationship can also be stressful. It takes time and good communication to navigate it successfully.
How You Can Show Your Appreciation
As we approach Military Spouse Appreciation Day, special events such as spouse appreciation luncheons and educational workshops will be planned. Check with your local base for details on events in your community.
If you have or know a military spouse, consider these ideas for showing just how much you appreciate their efforts:
- Give your military spouse a day off.
- Ask a military spouse what it’s like to live this special life of service.
- Take care of your spouse’s least favorite chores.
- Send a military spouse a care package, gift card or flowers.
- Lend a helping hand to a military spouse such as make them dinner, mow the yard, etc.
- Schedule a couple’s spa day for you and your spouse.
- Bring your spouse breakfast in bed or make a special dinner.
- Give your military spouse a list of reasons why you appreciate them.
- If you’re deployed, send your spouse a video message or ecard to show your appreciation.
USBA is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.