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Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks' Remarks for Purple Up! For Military Kids

Today is Purple Up! Day, a special day in April — the Month of the Military Child — when we recognize the contributions and achievements of our nation's 1.6 million military children. And it is my privilege to join in the celebration.

Growing up in a military family can be a rewarding and enriching experience.

You have the opportunity to travel, build connections with people from all walks of life, and serve our nation. In fact, DoD schools often lead among schools across the country in educational progress and outcomes.

Yet whether or not they're enrolled in DoD schools, military kids grow up to have a big impact on our country and culture — from actress-turned-media-mogul Reese Witherspoon to singer and dancer Ciara to NFL quarterback Justin Fields, and Disney CEO Bob Iger. Not to mention other leaders in entertainment, sports, business, and government.  

But it can also be a challenging way to grow up.

Moving from duty station to duty station every couple of years. Transferring schools and making new friends. Missing a parent — or perhaps more than one parent — on special occasions.

I'm familiar with the benefits and difficulties of growing up in a military family. Because of my father's service in the United States Navy, I grew up on bases across the country — from Connecticut to Hawaii.

One thing remains true in all of this: We have the fiercest fighting force in the world because we have the finest military families in the world. So in the Department of Defense, we are committed to taking care of our people — ensuring that military families, including kids, receive the support and tools that allow them to thrive.

Recent investments from the FY2024 defense budget will establish universal pre-K in DoD schools, increase pay for childcare providers, and improve family housing. These investments will help shape even more outstanding military children and strengthen military families.

I know from firsthand experience that to be in a military family involves its own level of service and sacrifice. So today, I am especially proud to "Purple Up!" for military kids. But please know that each and every day, we are grateful for our military children for all they do to ensure our national security.

Thank you.