The military way of life can be difficult on everyone in the family – for the servicemember, his or her spouse, and their child(ren). Everyone knows how hard it can be on service members – always being on call, long deployments in dangerous situations, and always putting the military first, often ahead of family and personal interests. But being a military dependent is no easy tak either. Spouses and children are often required to frequently move, to change jobsand schools, and hold down the fort while the servicemember is deployed or on temporary duty. Without military spouses and the support they give, military servicemembers wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Military Spouse Appreciation Day was created by President Reagen in 1984 to recognize the sacrifices and support of military spouses. The first Military Souse Appreciation Day was celebrated May 23, 1984, and the date has since been standardized as the Friday before Mother’s Day. This holiday is normally commemorated by a ceremonial speech or proclamation by the President or the First Lady.
Other ways military spouses are appreciated. Many bases and local military communities have special opportunities for military spouses which are available year round, or when the service member is deployed. These can include things such as discounts, assistance with child care or home maintenance, oil changes or vehicle inspections, etc. Be sure to check with your base community center or similar office for more information.
Tax benefits. The government also recognizes that military spouses are not always given an option of when or where they are required to move, which was the reason they created the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, which allows military spouses to claim their original state of residence on their taxes. This can be a big help if the spouse is originally from a state with a lower tax rate (or no state taxes at all). I wish I had known about the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act when I was newly married (I had already separated from the USAF when my wife and I were married. She was still in the USAF and I could have maintained my Texas residency and avoided paying state income taxes for a year).
Employment for military spouses: Employment can be difficult for military spouses, especially when they frequently move. There are many employers who are provide excellent employment opportunities for military spouses. Here is a list of the best employers for military spouses.
Showing your appreciation. The military offers a unique way of life, and being a military spouse is unlike anything else in the civilian world. If you know anyone who is or ways a military spouse, take some time to say thanks to them today, and take a moment to remember them and their sacrifices throughout the year. The military truly wouldn’t function the same way without them and their support and sacrifices.
Here are some Mother’s Day gift ideas if the military spouse in your family is a mother.
Photo credit: The U.S. Army