By Rep. Kristi Noem
Thousands of men and women across the state of South Dakota have volunteered to serve their state and country in order to protect the ideals and values that we have treasured for generations. While there is no doubt that our soldiers have made great sacrifices, and will continue to do so, military families and children make sacrifices as well.
Designated in 1986 by Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, April is the Month of the Military Child and I hope you’ll join me in supporting military children in South Dakota. Kids often have to cope with not having Mom or Dad in the stands during soccer games, or not having a parent around to read a book to at the end of the day. I believe we must support these kids as they navigate through these times of temporary separation.
In honor of military kids, I’ll be wearing purple on April 12th and I hope you’ll join me. South Dakota’s Operation: Military Kids (OMK) Program is leading this initiative so that we all can visibly show our support for military children. OMK also encourages South Dakotans to find other ways to thank these children for their service to our country, such as volunteering to read a story about the military at a local school or library. It’s important that these children know just how much we value their mom or dad’s service to our country.
South Dakota is home to approximately 7,400 military kids and many of these kids endure frequent moves and also face reintegration issues as they start life in a new school. These children often grow up and mature much faster than their peers, because they’ve had to step up and help out around the home while a parent is serving.
We all have a role to play in supporting these children and families and I encourage you to get involved. South Dakota has a long and upstanding tradition of supporting our troops and Month of the Military Child is just another way we can show our appreciation for our brave men, women, families and children. In our family, we continually pray for our troops and their safety. We also talk about the importance of our military and how appreciative we are of their commitment to our country. I hope you’ll share your ideas about how we can support our military children by contacting one of my offices.