By Carla Olivo, USMC Spouse
If you are like me, your husband probably has no clue that Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a thing. And that’s ok with me because my fellow mil-spouses know and that’s truly who I like to celebrate with anyway!
Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2018
Thirty-four years ago, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation designating the Friday before Mother’s Day as Military Spouse Appreciation Day. It is a day set aside to recognize “the profound importance of spouse commitment to the readiness and well-being of service members on active duty and the National Guard and Reserve, and to the security of our Nation.”
Mil-Spouses are Changing
Certainly, not all mil-spouses are women. A 2013 Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense report estimates that men make up just over 7 percent of the Active Duty spouse population.
In addition to the number of male spouses rising each year, the way the Department of Defense and the country as a whole sees military spouses has changed a lot in the last few decades.
As recently as the mid-to-late 80’s, Officer’s wives were discouraged from working. It was thought that for a wife to be able to truly support her husband, she needed to be at home. Officer wives were expected to lead and support fellow mil-spouses in their husband’s unit or squadron. If they did work, they filled mainly school teacher or administrative roles. Wives were discouraged from pursuing professional careers on their own.
Fast forward to today where mil-spouses work in many different professions and are often encouraged by their Active Duty spouses to climb the career ladder. Additionally, a growing number of spouses become entrepreneurs and start businesses that can move with them. And many spouses choose to stay at home to be a full-time Mom or Dad. What’s different is that today it’s a choice.
Celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation
I usually spend the Friday before Mother’s Day celebrating with a few close mil-spouse girlfriends. I think of all the mil-spouses that came before me, and I always appreciate their willingness to pave the way for all of us and all the great changes that have happened for our community over the years.
Many military installations will offer special events to mark Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2018 so check with your local post or base.
Here are four simple ways to celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day 2018.
A Family Barbecue
Gather together a few military families and have a cook-out. Order out for side dishes and let the Active Duty spouses take care of the grill!
Ok, so there aren’t any discounts or free meals that way there are for Veteran’s Day, but a nice lunch with friends is a great way to celebrate this military life. Have a ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere’ glass of wine or go really wild and order dessert!
Mil-Spouse Appreciation Happy Hour
Meet a few mil-spouse friends for drinks during Happy Hour. Also, a lot of Friday Happy Hours offer free appetizers.
Grab a few friends and catch a matinee! If your fellow mil-spouses are all women, pick a chick flick that none of your husbands will want to see.
Appreciate the Sacrifice
However your celebration unfolds, it is important to recognize the PCSes, deployments, sometimes heartache, and the massive pride that make up the lives of the spouses of our men and women in uniform. Most of all, it is a special group that bears the burden of holding a military family together during the worst of circumstances. I am proud to walk among you.
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PCSgrades Author: Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Strategic Communications Director, has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News and Documentary Reporting. She cherishes the amazing military spouses that have shared this military life journey with her.