Bush Proclaims May 11 Military Spouse Day

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2007 - President Bush issued a proclamation yesterday commemorating today as Military Spouse Day and laid plans to observe the day honoring servicemembers and their spouses personally at the White House.

"America's military spouses inspire our nation with their sense of duty and deep devotion to our country," Bush said in his proclamation.

The president called families an "integral part of the success of our armed forces" and recognized their sacrifices, particularly during their loved ones' deployments.

"Spouses may endure long periods of separation and frequent relocations, and they often set aside their own personal and professional ambitions for the benefit of their family and the nation," he said.

Meanwhile, Bush noted, they keep the home fires burning when their loved ones are away. "Despite tremendous personal challenges, military spouses maintain everyday life for their families here at home, while sending love, prayers, encouraging words, and care packages to their loved ones stationed around the globe," he said.

Bush urged people to visit the America Supports You Web site to find ways to support troops, their spouses and their families. America Supports You is a Defense Department program that showcases America's support for the men and women of the armed forces and their families.

Today, Bush is commemorating Military Spouses Day by hosting servicemembers and their spouses at a White House event. He will thank the group for their service and sacrifice and present the President's Volunteer Service Award to a military spouse from each service, White House officials said.

The White House event is among a wide range of activities planned at U.S. military posts worldwide in observance of Military Spouse Day. Posts plan to honor their spouses with receptions, workshops, "pampering parties" and other activities.
Military Spouse Day was first celebrated in 1984 when then-President Reagan proclaimed the observance to honor the contributions of military spouses. The military now sets aside the Friday before Mother's Day each year to pay tribute to the spouses who play a vital role in the nation's defense.
But Defense Department leaders say recognizing Military Spouse Day is particularly important when thousands of spouses are sacrificing alongside their loved ones serving in the war on terror.
"Military Spouse Day is one day in the year when we stop to recognize the countless contributions of our military spouses," said Leslye Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.

Through her many meetings with military spouses, Arsht said she's come to appreciate their resilience and determination. "They look for ways to contribute," she said. "They are much like their servicemember-husband or -wife; they are American patriots who also serve and sacrifice."

Arsht said the stability of the military family and our military communities is attributable, in large part, to military spouses' self-sacrifice and dedication. "As they strive each day to keep the homefront strong, these capable and committed spouses are a vital part of winning the global war on terrorism," she said.

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