JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
The Airman and Family Readiness Center hosted their bi-annual “Little Heroes” ceremony April 18, 2018, at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. The ceremony was a way to acknowledge Team Charleston’s youth during the Month of the Military Child.
Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger established April as Month of the Military Child in 1986. The month is celebrated with emphasis on the sacrifices made by the dependent children of military members serving at home and overseas.
“Little Heroes is basically a big celebration for the children of JB Charleston where we recognize and thank them for their sacrifices and support to their family,” said Beth Snodgrass, 628th Force Support Squadron life consultant. “It’s an opportunity for leadership to congratulate them face-to-face, as well as a time to bring JB Charleston families together to network and continue building their support systems.”
The Little Heroes are JB Charleston’s children of deployed service members. Those children received a medal and certificate presented by their parent’s respective wing commander during the ceremony.
“These children don’t usually know what’s going on or why their parents are gone,” said Nissa Wilson, spouse and ceremony attendee. “When my husband was deployed, the boys missed him like crazy and didn't understand why he wasn’t home. It’s hard to explain because they’re so little and don’t really get it. I think this is an amazing way to recognize the kids and make them feel special for their contributions to the mission.”
Since the establishment of the Month of the Military Child, there has been an increase in the number of awareness campaigns aimed at recognizing the needs of military children in areas ranging from coping with the deployment of parents to war zones to education of military dependents around the globe. This official recognition is sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and supported by other organizations such as the Department of Defense Education Activity.
“This is our way of letting the children know how important they are to the military community and our total mission support,” said Snodgrass. “They make sure our service members are ready to complete the mission and it’s important to thank them for that and recognize the sacrifice the children give with their lifestyle of moving around and dealing with deployments and being away from family and friends. As a military child who used to be sitting in ceremonies such as this one, it means a lot to see our youth still being acknowledged and celebrated for all they do for the military.”
Similar to other military recognition efforts, the Month of the Military Child is often celebrated within military communities by contests, parades, fairs, seminars and special events centered around the message of the month. It is also celebrated externally by many communities, schools and organizations.
“Military kids are brought up in a completely different environment than civilians,” said Tech. Sgt. Eva Simmons, 628th Force Support Squadron readiness NCO. “They stay resilient and withstand the circumstances we face as parents, all while providing us the support we need to stay motivated and keep our spirits up for our careers. I personally would not be where I am today without my kids. Not only do they keep me in the military, they keep me going as a whole. They support me just as much as I support them. They deserve this recognition ceremony and much more.”