National Military Family Month: honoring heroes on the homefront

  • Published
  • By Ashley Palacios
  • Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs
On Oct. 28, President Barack Obama signed a presidential proclamation declaring November to be “National Military Family Month.”

“We must always be there for our service members and their families -- just as they are there for us,” Obama said in the proclamation. “Through the thickest of fights and the darkest of nights, our extraordinary military families -- our heroes on the homefront -- stand alongside our patriots in uniform, and in their example we see the very best of our country's spirit. During Military Family Month, let us thank them for their tremendous devotion to duty and for their unyielding sacrifice. Let us honor their resolve and patriotism and uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure the priorities of our nation reflect the priorities of our military families.”

Maree Scanlan, whose husband is currently deployed, has been a military spouse since 2009. After seven years of being part of the Air Force family, she describes military life as a series of ups and downs.

Scanlan said being part of the Air Force family has allowed her to meet new people, experience new cultures and travel. She said her worldview has been expanded in a way that wouldn’t have been possible had she lived in the same place her entire life.

But as all military families know, life in the Air Force has its challenges too.

It’s difficult to pack up and move to a new place, a new school and a new city with new people, Scanlan said. Dealing with the unknown, the deployments and having to rearrange family routines are some of the hardest parts of military family life.

“My kids are resilient but it’s still hard on them,” she said. “Change is scary and difficult. They have to leave their friends, family and way of life to start all over, but I also see how it’s building character, making them more resilient, teaching them to accept change, be problem solvers and overcome challenges.”

Scanlan’s advice to other military families who may be struggling, is to stay positive and be proactive.

“It will all be OK,” Scanlan said. “It’s tough, but you and your spouse have to rely on each other. As a spouse, be willing to be part of the military life, the base and the community. Don’t be scared of change and remember to stay flexible as a family.” 

Scanlan said she’s proud to be part of the Air Force family. Moments like seeing her young daughter with her hand over her heart as retreat played remind her why their service is important.

“My husband and I joke that the Air Force is the first wife, but really, we’re just like any normal family,” Scanlan said. “No family is perfect. Every family has their ups and downs, their good days and bad days, their challenges and their successes; ours is no different.”