Panetta Salutes Military Spouses, Mothers, Grandmothers
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 11, 2012 America’s military spouses play a critical role in making the nation’s military the finest in the world, and service members’ mothers and grandmothers also provide key contributions to the nation’s security, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in a message released today.
“America’s military spouses are a key part of what makes our armed services the strongest in the world,” Panetta said in his message. “All Americans should be grateful for the support they offer to our heroes in uniform. The love and encouragement our service members get from their spouses helps our military to fulfill its mission of protecting this country.”
President Barack Obama signed a proclamation declaring today Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
“Just like their loved ones, military spouses serve our country -- whether it’s by helping family and friends through the stress of a deployment, caring for wounded warriors, or supporting each other when a loved one has made the ultimate sacrifice,” Panneta said. “They give new meaning to the word ‘family.’”
And, as Mother’s Day, May 13, approaches, Panetta said he also wanted to express his gratitude “to all mothers and grandmothers in our military family.” Mother’s Day, he added, is “a day to celebrate the extraordinary importance of mothers in our lives and the lives of this nation.”
America’s mothers “have shaped our values,” he continued, “and they have taught us all the meaning and importance of making sacrifices to give our children a better life.”
Panetta also praised mothers who serve their country in uniform.
“I am deeply moved by your determination to serve our country, even while balancing the demands of raising a family,” Panetta said in his message. “Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with thousands of service members in the war zones, many of whom were mothers.
“I know the challenges our mothers in uniform face in managing a home and family from thousands of miles away,” the secretary continued, “and I am in awe of the tremendous pride that these mothers take in sacrificing so much to their country to help give their children a better life.”
The U.S. military couldn’t accomplish its mission without the love and support of military spouses, Panetta said.
“Every day you juggle enormous responsibilities, often working full-time outside the home while doing the job of two parents and caring for the needs of your children,” he said. “At the same time, nearly all of you still find the time to give more by volunteering in your neighborhoods and communities.
“This department owes you a tremendous debt for your service and sacrifice,” the secretary added, “and I am committed to providing you and your families the support you need. Know that the American people will always honor and support you, because you are what makes this country great.”