In 1984, President Reagan characterized it this way: "As the numbers of our married men and women in uniform have grown and as the military missions have become more complex and dispersed, their spouses have made countless personal sacrifices to support the armed forces." His words led to the creation of Military Spouse Day, celebrated the Friday before Mother's Day, and a "Day" that is generally unknown. President Reagan's proclamation talks about spouses "subordinating their personal and professional aspirations." President Reagan got it so right. Here then is what several others have more recently said, but first the Proclamation.
Proclamation 5184 -- Military Spouse Day, 1984
April 17, 1984 - By the President of the United States of America - A Proclamation
Since the early days of the Continental Army, the wives of our servicemen have made unselfish contributions to the spirit and well-being of their fighting men and the general welfare of their communities.
Throughout the years, as the numbers of our married men and women in uniform have grown and as their military missions have become more complex and dispersed, their spouses have made countless personal sacrifices to support the Armed Forces. In many instances, they subordinated their personal and professional aspirations to the greater benefit of the service family. Responding to the call of duty, they frequently endured long periods of separation or left familiar surroundings and friends to re-establish their homes in distant places. And there they became American ambassadors abroad.
As volunteers, military spouses have provided exemplary service and leadership in educational, community, recreational, religious, social and cultural endeavors. And as parents and homemakers, they preserve the cornerstone of our Nation's strength -- the American family.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 23, 1984, as Military Spouse Day, in recognition of the profound importance of spouse commitment to the readiness and well-being of service members on active duty and in the National Guard and Reserve, and to the security of our Nation. I invite all the Armed Forces, the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard, the Departments of Defense and Transportation, the Governors of the several States, the chief officials of local governments, and the people of the United States to observe this day in an appropriate manner.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 17th day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:22 a.m., April 18, 1984]
U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General James T. Conway
Date Signed: 04/26/2007
Subject: Military spouse appreciation day
UNCLAS 252117Z APR 07 CMC WASHINGTON DC(UC)
To: AL ALMAR(UC)
1. Since 1984, the Armed Forces have set aside a special day to honor the heroes at home - the men and women who support their military spouses. This year, Friday, 11 May 07, has been designated Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
2. The life of a military family is one of unique challenges. These challenges are currently exacerbated by the high operational tempo of the Marine Corps. In spite of the challenges, military spouses continue to demonstrate strength, devotion and grace. Military spouses inspire by their example in the many supporting roles they play including supporting both mission and family readiness.
3. As we celebrate military spouse appreciation day, my wife, Annette, and I express our heartfelt gratitude to all Marine Corps spouses for their support and commitment to their Marines, their families and their communities. I also encourage marines to take the time to thank our Marine Corps spouses, in your own special way, for a job well done.
4. Semper Fidelis, James T. Conway, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
A May 12, 2006 Article
From Military Spouse Career Center (
), an article by Arlene H. Hull.
"If the military had wanted you to have a spouse, they would have issued you one." Remember those words? Well, that was then and this is now. America's military has realized and acknowledged the significance of the military spouse. In 1984 President Reagan proclaimed the Friday before Mother's Day of each year to be Military Spouse Appreciation Day. It is your day to stand up and be honored.
For the times you've stood and watched a ship sail from the harbor, an aircraft disappear into the clouds, or a truck convoy pull out of sight, not sure when they would return, we thank you.
For the countless household moves you've made from a place you know to one that's strange and different -- often by yourself -- we thank you.
For the families you've held together, for the anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays you've celebrated alone, we thank you.
For the hand you've extended to another military spouse when the need was there, truly creating a military family, we thank you.
For the spirit and strength you've shown when your service member has gone into harm's way, we thank you.
For the pride you've displayed while serving as an ambassador of the military spouse to the rest of the world, we thank you.
Far too frequently, the sacrifices and dedication of the military spouse have gone unnoticed and unappreciated. In our nation's recent history, thousands of service members have been placed in harm's way as they stood watch as freedom's guardian. You too have stood watch at home, facing challenges alone. You have waved flags and held banners high to express your support. You have kept the candles burning on the home front as a reminder of our deployed military.
You have made difficult sacrifices of your own, and have called upon your inner reserves to nurture family life so your service member can focus on the business at hand.
Even in times of relaxed alert status for our military, you have stood ready and alert for the slightest of signs, perhaps overlooked or ignored by your civilian counterparts, signaling a potential change in the status of our military forces. As a military spouse, you have willingly packed up and relocated countless times, and may have been separated from your own parents and siblings for several years at a time.
Quite often, you have been placed in an unfamiliar ethnic or cultural setting, or a remote location. You have met this challenge with confidence and pride, making your nation proud of you. By the same token, you have extended your hand and hospitality to visitors to our country.
A country cannot count itself strong by its armed services alone, but must also depend on its civilians. With military wives and husbands setting a superior example through devotion, courage, and commitment, we are a nation of strength.
Military spouses ... stand tall, stand proud ... we salute you; you are truly our unsung heroes.
Jenny... the Military Spouse
ASAP: As Soon As Possible, but in the military that translates as "right now!"
CHOW-TIME: As in a meal is served.
DEERS: - "TRICARE" Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System in which one's personal information is "kept."
LES: Leave and Earnings Statement; the military equivalent to one's pay-stub data.
MY SPONSOR'S LAST FOUR: The last four digits of your spouse, for whom your family (health care) is enrolled, social security number.
PCM: Primary Care Management; your geographic-based "TRICARE" provider.
POC: Point Of Contact: with whom you (must) communicate for your military....
ROGER THAT: I understand and, usually, "WILCO."
TAD: Temporary Additional Duty.
TDY: Temporary Duty; or as we Navy-types knew it back in the late '60s "TAD." To "be TDY" means one is not, right now, available at ones "usual" duty assignment.
TRICARE: TRICARE is the United States military's health care plan for military personnel and their dependents. It has three options: TRICARE Standard, TRICARE Extra, and TRICARE Prime.
TSP: Thrift Savings Plan: "YAPD."
WILCO: Will Comply.
YAPD: Yet Another Payroll Deduction.
A Happy Mothers Day to All!
--- Regards, Walt Schmidt