Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III observing National Veterans and Military Families Month

  • Published
  • U.S. Department of Defense

Our families serve every bit as much as we do. That’s one reason why it’s so important during this National Veterans and Military Families Month that we take time to recognize them for the sacrifices they make and for the support they continue to give all those who have worn -- and who still wear -- the uniform.

I remember my own days in uniform, and I can’t begin to imagine how much more difficult my Army career would have been were it not for my spouse, Charlene, and my incredible family.

The frequent moves, the multiple deployments, the strain and the stress over the last twenty years of war -- my family and all of yours have borne it with grace and resilience. But it goes beyond that, of course. They don’t just bear the hardships; our families make us a stronger force, a healthier force. They make sacrifices themselves, to be sure, but they also make possible the sacrifices our men and women sustain.

Put simply, our families make us more ready every day for the task of defending this nation.

And they do the very same for our veterans, from helping with the transition to civilian life to care-giving and emotional support. They are there for us, and so we must be there for them.

Arm-in-arm with our colleagues at the Department of Veterans Affairs, we will continue to meet the challenges our military families face: mental health and well-being, childcare and schooling, food and economic security, and spouse employment, to name but a few. And we know that the COVID-19 pandemic has only made these challenges, and many others, more difficult.

We have much work to do. And I want each and every military family to know we will stay committed to that work, the same way they have stayed committed to their loved ones and to this nation they help defend.

As I said, our families serve every bit as much as we do. The month of November provides us a terrific opportunity to say thank you for that, but we need to treat the effort of improving their lives as the critical task it must be.

To all our veteran and military families … Thank you! We honor your sacrifice. We recognize your resilience. We hold dear to our hearts your ceaseless love and support. We owe that and so much more.

Please find more information for families at Military OneSource.