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Serving the Families Who Serve
November 9, 2023
Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

November 11 is Veteran’s Day in the United States, to recognize those who’ve served in the military. Many veterans are also parents, which brings both pride and stress to military families in unique ways. According to a “Voices of Veterans” video from the National Association of Social Workers, the added challenges military families take on include lengthy separations, disruptions due to frequent relocation, fear for deployed members, increased responsibilities and financial challenges, shifts in roles and responsibilities, and even mixed emotions during reunions.  

One military spouse in the video shared how her family managed the separations: “Every day they would journal about some good thing so when [their dad] came back from deployment, they would go over the journal together, so we were trying to sustain the connection…I just did the best I could and because we were really connected and communicated a lot, that also helped in the process.”

Sesame Street Workshop has released a number of video and activity resources for young children of veterans, noting, “There are playful things families can do to help them cope with and navigate the unique challenges of military life—together!” The resources are free to families and providers and available in English and Spanish. Activities address topics like “Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going,” and “Wherever I am, We Can Still Be Friends.”

The videos, which feature “Muppets” as veterans and their families, are accompanied by simple suggestions, such as, “One way to care for yourself is to be flexible with routines and expectations. Sometimes, just choosing to do routine activities in easier ways can have a big impact.”


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Comments (2)

Displaying All 2 Comments
Kirsten Haugen · November 14, 2023
Eugene, OR, United States

Thanks for correcting and clarifying that, Kim. That is important distinction and I will remember it in the future. As you say, both veterans and active military service members and their families deserve recognition and support. Thanks for taking the time to write in and for your thoughtful feedback.

Kim · November 09, 2023
Seattle, WA, United States

Thank you for this good article that gets us thinking about Veterans Day.

It may interest you to know that under US law, a veteran is defined as a "person who served in the active military, naval, air, or space service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.” With this definition, those who are actively serving in the military do not fall under the category of a veteran. This article has important information about the need to support the well being of active military families. Of course active service members and their families deserve and need the support described and it is good to think of and honor their service, but they are not yet veterans. Sometimes their is this confusion about what a veteran is. Those of us from military families may be more aware of this distinction.

Thanks for all the thoughtful postings in Exchange Every Day!

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