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Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Mother’s Day

As Written by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta , The Pentagon, Friday, May 11, 2012

America’s military spouses are a key part of what makes our armed services the strongest in the world.  All Americans should be grateful for the support they offer to our heroes in uniform.  The love and encouragement our service members get from their spouses helps our military to fulfill its mission of protecting this country.

For that reason, we celebrate today as Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

Just like their loved ones, military spouses serve our country -- whether it’s by helping family and friends through the stress of a deployment, caring for wounded warriors, or supporting each other when a loved one has made the ultimate sacrifice.  They give new meaning to the word ‘family.’

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’d like to express my particular gratitude to all mothers and grandmothers in our military family.  Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the extraordinary importance of mothers in our lives and the lives of this nation.  America’s mothers have shaped our values, and they have taught us all the meaning and importance of making sacrifices to give our children a better life.

To all mothers in uniform: I am deeply moved by your determination to serve our country, even while balancing the demands of raising a family.  Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with thousands of service members in the war zones, many of whom were mothers.  I know the challenges our mothers in uniform face in managing a home and family from thousands of miles away, and I am in awe of the tremendous pride that these mothers take in sacrificing so much to their country to help give their children a better life.

To all mothers with a husband, son or daughter in uniform: We could not do our mission without your love and support.  Every day you juggle enormous responsibilities, often working full-time outside the home while doing the job of two parents and caring for the needs of your children.  At the same time, nearly all of you still find the time to give more by volunteering in your neighborhoods and communities.

This department owes you a tremendous debt for your service and sacrifice, and I am committed to providing you and your families the support you need.  Know that the American people will always honor and support you, because you are what makes this country great.”

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