MONTGOMERY, AL- More than 34,000 Alabama children have at least one parent currently serving on active duty or in the National Guard or Reserve, according to a recent proclamation from Gov. Bob Riley.
Riley issued an official proclamation April 9 that declared April to be the Month of the Military Child in order to "pay tribute to Alabama's military children for their commitment, struggles and unconditional support of our troops."
Alabama National Guard Child & Youth Coordinator, Kelli Hill, says the Alabama Guard will be "recognizing all the children that attend a Yellow Ribbon Deployment Cycle Event with a certificate thanking them for their sacrifice and service (and) hosting a series of events throughout the summer that support Alabama National Guard youth who are currently experiencing a deployment."
During one recent Yellow Ribbon event, Miss Fountain City, Jessica Brookshire of Prattville, Ala., spoke to military children about the importance of recognizing and avoiding bullying. The entire Yellow Ribbon program focuses on the reintegration process after a parent is deployed.
Hill says programs like these are important due to the number of children affected by deployment and the sacrifice that they make. "It's not just the deployed service members who sacrifice," said Hill. "The children sacrifice, too – they give up a parent for months at a time."
This and other family programs display the Department of Defense's renewed focus on improving the quality of life for all service members and their families.
"It is important that we recognize the sacrifice these children of our service members make to our country," said Hill. So important that the Governor and the Alabama National Guard are dedicating an entire month to the task.