Pillen Signs Month of the Military Child Proclamation

  • Published
  • By J.B. Artley
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 55th Wing leadership from Offutt Air Force Base were on hand to witness Governor Jim Pillen sign the proclamation designating April as the Month of the Military Child at the state capitol April 11, 2024. 

Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger established the tradition in 1986 to highlight the strength of the youngest members of the total force and to honor their sacrifices.

“Celebrating the Month of the Military Child provides a powerful opportunity to raise awareness and build support to help military children meet the unique challenges they face,” said Col. Mark Howard, 55th Wing commander. “As military members, we can be sent on long deployments. That means our children are missing out on having mom or dad there at sporting events or other life milestones.” 

Another challenge military children face is the multiple moves their parents must make from one duty station to the next throughout their career.  Chief Master Sgt. Melissa Royster, 55th Wing command chief has two daughters who have made those moves with her and her husband.  

“Seeing how resilient our kids are with each move over the years has been awesome. However, it has not come without challenges,” said Royster. “Moving can be difficult and I’ve learned that by talking with our kids before a move can help mentally prepare them, and make the moves and deployments go a lot smoother.”

According to the DOD, more than 1.6 million military children face many challenges due to their parents’ service. Offutt has more than 5,000 military children and the Child Development Center has daycare and after school programs to help support them.

“Military children will change schools on average six to nine times, whether they are state side or overseas. They often face unique challenges, not just related to education but for life in general,” said Liane Yanikov, Offutt AFB school liaison program manager. “Month of the Military Child gives us an opportunity to raise awareness and recognize the strength and sacrifices these kids make on a daily basis that otherwise would go unnoticed.”  

The official flower of the military child is the dandelion. The winds carry them almost anywhere, putting down strong roots that are almost impossible to destroy.

“Just like the dandelion, our children settle into their new homes with strong, hardy roots that stand steadfast in the face of adversity,” said Howard. “They can’t do this on their own. They need our love and guidance to ensure when the time comes to take them to new lands and new friends, they’re able to put down roots and thrive wherever they go.”

Purple is the official color for the Month of the Military Child and Offutt leadership is asking everyone to wear purple on Monday, April 15, this year to show your support of our military children.