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Family Matters Blog: Blogger Praises Military Families

By Robert L. Gordon III
Military Community and Family Policy

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2010 – Today and throughout the month of November – Military Family Month – we join our nation in honoring military families. We are pleased to participate in this national tribute because we know firsthand the contributions military families make. They balance the demands of work and family life with an added dimension – having loved ones deployed away from home, perhaps for the fourth or fifth time. Despite these challenges, military families persevere and serve as an inspiration to us all.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Sandlin holds his newborn daughter for the first time after being at sea for six months aboard the USS George Washington in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 1, 2010. Sandlin is a machinist's mate. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David A. Cox
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

A strong nation is made up of strong families; among the most resilient are our military families.

While it may be difficult for some to imagine spending the holidays without a loved one near or accomplishing the tasks of everyday life while a loved one is in harm's way, our military families do this every day. They understand their own important role in our nation’s defense and are proud to serve. And they do so without fanfare.

I say this with some authority. For as long as I can remember, the military has been a part of my life. As a military child, my father's assignments took me across the United States and overseas. I cherish the memories of my days attending Defense Department schools and time spent at the installation youth center. I learned how to say goodbye to friends with the full knowledge that I might see them again at another assignment in the years to come – and marveled when, in fact, we did re-connect! I was able to experience diversity at its best. I learned to appreciate the remarkable challenges and rewards of the military lifestyle. That experience served me well later in life, both as a soldier and troop leader, and as a husband and father. 

Today, as the deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy, I've been able to see the evolution of what were once informal, volunteer-run programs become policy, programs and services. This has happened, in large part I believe, because family members took the time to tell their leaders what was going right and where improvements were needed. It resulted also from leadership that listened and took action.

During Military Family Month, I would like to continue that exchange of ideas. Information technology expands our reach far beyond location and time zones. I invite you to share your thoughts, expressions of appreciation and suggestions for the future. Please join us on Military Community and Family Policy's Facebook page throughout the month of November, and provide your comments. Let's take time to reflect on the realities of military family life and consider how we can best reach out and provide support. Together we can achieve great things.

To comment on this blog, visit the Family Matters website.

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