May is Military Appreciation Month – but so is every month

Author: Attorney Melinda H. South

Governor McDonnell officially recognized May as Military Appreciation Month.  In the Certificate of Recognition, Governor McDonnell stated there are nearly 200,000 Virginians serving on active duty in the National Guard or other reserve components, or as civilian federal defense contractors employed at installations throughout the Commonwealth.  He recognized the sacrifices made by the members of the United States Armed Forces and their family members.  Almost everyone has been touched in some way by the current conflicts.  Some of us – for the first time in our lives – are going through  the pain and anguish of watching a person we know go off to war.  Many of us have heard stories from our parents or grandparents about their experiences during war time, but now we finally understand.  It is particularly difficult for the spouses and families of our service personnel, as they are left behind to cope with all the responsibilities of running a household and taking care of the children.

I feel compelled to write about this. It is humbling to realize the sacrifices that are being made daily by the service persons and their families on my behalf.  I have talked with several families who are experiencing this.  Some tell me they don’t watch the news because learning of a bomb going off heightens the anxiety about their loved one and they must be strong for the children.  Young children cannot fully understand why their parent is away and sometimes the phone calls that are treasured are difficult on everyone because it emphasizes how much they miss the absent person.  Some families remain near their family support systems while others are transferred to locations where they have no family or friends to call on.  If one of the children becomes sick during the night needing to go to the emergency room, then until a support system is established, the parent has to take all the children with him or her.

The extended family also suffers with the absence of the person serving in the military.  What must it be like to watch your 3 year old granddaughter think someone in fatigues is her father, and when she realizes it is not her father, to see her cry like her heart is breaking.  What about the pure joy on their faces when Dad or Mom come home for 2 weeks and the anguish there when they leave again.

I write this article to encourage you to thank a service person and their family for their service.  All too often we take for granted these sacrifices because our busy schedules keep us from thinking about those in different circumstances.  May has been designated as Military Appreciation Month but we should continue to show our appreciation to those people who serve in our military and their families throughout the year.

About the Author: Melinda H. South is an Richmond attorney with the personal injury law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen. Melinda works as a legal researcher and assists in the preparation of firm briefs and legal memoranda. Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen attorneys have experience in handling premises liability cases in Virginia.