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Military Service is a family commitment.

Throughout April, the Department of Defense honors our youngest team members with Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community. The Month of the Military Child is a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.

The Month of the Military Child is part of the legacy left by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. He established the Defense Department commemoration in 1986.

“It’s designed to show the important role of military children in our Armed Forces Community and a time to show recognition the military challenges they make and the challenges they overcome,” said Jamie Albers, Fort Belvoir Elementary School liaison officer, who added that Purple Up Day, April 21, is called that because all the colors of the military branches, when combined, becomes purple.

“Virginia has designated that as April 21, but school kids wear purple as much as they can during the month,” Albers said. The theme for this month is “Military Children and Youth: a resilient force in a changing world”.

Albers noted what a unique year it has been for military children on Fort Belvoir this past year, with school ending suddenly last spring without a chance for students and teachers to say goodbye, and some families had already gotten PCS orders that were subsequently delayed. Albers said families had packed up to go, and the stop order meant they had to re-enroll their children in class.

“Since class was all virtual, students never got to meet classmates for almost a year. Parents feel that the isolation was hard, especially when moving away from friends and family,” said Albers.

For students in their senior year, that meant missed proms, homecomings, and even graduations.

The Primary and Upper schools have numerous recognitions of MOMC, including recognizing teachers who are military veterans, as students put a purple ribbon on their classroom door. The student body has marked a map with pins, showing places they have lived before, and there will also be a cammo day, and a day when they can dress from the place where they lived.

Albers said the strength of the students throughout all this has been impressive. She said Fairfax County Public Schools are sending encouragement to military families and children, and teachers as well, because sometimes civilian teachers don’t know that their students move 6 to 9 times through their school years.

Albers said “For parents and their kids – thank you for your sacrifice and everything you do every day.”