As April transitions into hues of purple, it is time to rally behind our military youth. This year's Month of the Military Child theme highlights “Taking Care of Our Military Children." This means extending and reciprocating the support of the military down to their children.
It was 1986 when the former Defense Secretary, Casper Weinberger, appointed April as the Month of the Military Child. We are celebrating our 37th April of Month of the Military Child!! Weinberger served as United States Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan. He made great strides in building up the military and was a crucial part of foreign policy under the Reagan Administration. He was born in the mists of the First World War and followed to serve in the Second World War at 24, cementing his personal admiration with and for the military. By having two children of his own, a natural empathy sparked the idea. Fast forward, military children, families, and supporters gather to cherish each other.
Purple is the official color of the Month of the Military Child. Not only does purple conveniently represent bravery and courage, which military children are filled with, but it is a combination of all the military branch colors. The Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force are all expressed in shades of blue, while the Army is green and the Marines are red. This mix, in theory, makes purple! Purple has historically been a color of respect. Typically, people associate purple with royalty because purple dye was immensely due to its color from the mucus secretion of a species of snail. Monarchs would incorporate this color into their wardrobes to establish legitimacy, wealth, and status. Consequently, it became a delicacy and sought-after color. We also see purple in the Purple Heart medal, one of the most prestigious awards given to members of the U.S. Armed Forces. So the evident reputation preceding purple has a powerful connotation, which proudly embodies military children. There are countless ways to celebrate military children during April, but wearing purple simplifies the movement and brings us together under a color of pride.
Last year, in President Biden’s Proclamation on the Month Of The Military Child, he incorporated the final line of John Milton’s poem “On His Blindness.” It reads, “They also serve who only stand and wait.” This line encapsulates one of the many reasons we commemorate military kids. At times we lose touch with the reality our armed forces created. The duty of a soldier is passed on to their spouse and children, becoming a family effort. Naming all the sacrifices military kids make, let alone how they are navigated through, would take up a whole other blog. Each child is distinctive, yet they share the same resilience, which is worth celebrating.
We are so fortunate to, first, have the nation’s recognition of the armed forces, but even more fortunate to have recognition of their children. Sometimes just being seen and heard is enough, and April gives that to the military child population.