Blurred Lines of Military Celebrations
Should Veterans’ Day include military spouses? Who should we recognize and when?
“Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans’ Day. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans’ Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.”
– from a West Point graduate, class of 84′
Our country also has Military Spouse Appreciation Day, always falling on the Friday before Mother’s Day. This day acknowledges the significant contributions, support, and sacrifices of the spouses within our Armed Forces.
President Ronald Reagan recognized the profound importance of spouse commitment to the readiness and well-being of military members and declared May 23, 1984 the first Military Spouse Day with Proclamation 5184, dated April 17, 1984. The US Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger standardized the date by declaring the Friday preceding Mother’s Day as Military Spouse Day. See source
One example of blurred lines will take place on Veterans’ Day Nov. 11, 2013, in Kingsland, a city in Camden County, Georgia (near Jacksonville, Florida). A yellow ribbon cutting ceremony will take place during the dedication of the “Spouse House Gazebo,” a new monument in Kingsland’s Veteran’s Memorial Park.
The “Pentagon” shaped monument (each side representing a branch of service) is a result of the joint efforts of the city, the Veteran’s Memorial Park Committee, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8385.
With her husband at her side, Julie Davis, wife of World War II veteran Jack Davis, will take part in the ceremony.
Anna Haggin, a former military spouse (due to the death of her husband, not divorce) will sing The National Anthem. Her singing was recently praised on both American Idol and America’s Got Talent. (See article source)
Is it OK to Share?
Parents with young children may have experienced a birthday party for their eldest child, where a younger sibling reaches in to open a present. Some parents firmly, but gently, stand their ground and tell the younger child, “It’s not your time; your time will come.”
- Should the Gazebo ceremony have waited?
- Should they have scheduled it for May 9, 2014, Military Spouse Appreciation Day?
- Should someone have gently said, “Spouses, it’s not your day; your day will come”?
In our military celebrations, the lines are becoming blurred. As our nation pulls together in recognition, our festivities appear to include a mixture of food, drink, patriotism, and a simple focus of, “Let’s have an all around good time.”
Do we need to distinguish the things we cherish and value?
What do you think of on Veteran’s Day? Current soldiers, those who passed away, the pride you have for your country, or the dinner you plan to enjoy that night with family and friends?
The Tough Call to Make
Is it okay to focus on more than one?
The Spouse House itself is a wonderful thing. Notice, they did not call it the “Spouse Gazebo”. Naming it the “Spouse House” substantiates that it is the military spouse maintaining the home while the service member is off at war. The location in the park, just behind the veteran statue, is a further subtle indication of the spouse’s supportive role.
The Spouse House confirms our nation’s recognition of the significant contributions of the military spouse. Placing it within a veteran park is further evidence that more and more people are beginning to recognize the military family as a unit serving our country. The park is a testimony that we are grateful for our service members and thankful of the role of our military spouses. The Spouse House is a salute to the entire military family.
What do you think about the blurred lines evolving in military celebrations?
~ Share your thoughts in the comments below.