Sacrifices of Military Children Aren't Forgotten, Pace Says
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 18, 2006 Children in military families make sacrifices and serve their country as much as anyone in uniform does, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.
"In so many loving ways, our children quietly shoulder part of the burden, making their mom or dad understand that what they are doing is important," Marine Gen. Peter Pace said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.
Military parents often have to miss holidays and special occasions, and children are left home to worry while parents go on difficult missions, Pace said. Military families also have to move every two or three years, making the children uproot, change schools and say goodbye to friends, he said.
"There's no way, in my mind, that you can be successful in the military and have a family unless that family does, in fact, appreciate your service to the country," he said.
Because military children have to transition and adapt a lot, they gain great life experience and maturity, Pace said. He recognized that, as teenagers, his own children were much more worldly than he was at that age, because he spent his entire childhood in his hometown.
"I think that, in the main, growing up in a military family strengthens the individual," he said.
In honor of April's observance of the Month of the Military Child, Pace recently wrote a letter to military children, thanking them for their patience, understanding, courage and support.
In the letter, Pace thanked the children for their unconditional love and support of their parents, even through difficult separations. Military children's resilience and self confidence throughout frequent moves are strengths that others, including their parents, admire, he went on to say.
"You can be proud of your mom and dad for their brave defense of this great country," Pace said in the letter. "Your love and support sustains them. So thank you for being there for mom and dad. You are American patriots and role models for us all."