Show your support for our military children this April

Posted On: Monday, 25 March 2024

Military children are strong, resilient, and supportive individuals who face many challenges and unique experiences due to their parents’ military service. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, there are more than 1.6 million military children in the United States. These kids encounter trials and tribulations that are often invisible and unacknowledged. 
“Military children grow up facing a myriad of different issues than most children living in our communities — they face a huge number of challenges,” said Dr. Coral May Grout, ALA national Children & Youth Committee chair. “The responsibilities of dealing with a parent in the military impact not only the spouse or other caregiver, but it impacts the child.” 
To show military children our gratitude and recognize their bravery, April is dedicated as Military Child Appreciation Month, officially known as the Month of the Military Child (MOMC). Created in the mid-1980s, military support organizations use the month to honor the sacrifice and commitment our military children make every day. 
“Devoting a month to these children demonstrates that we are behind them and that their needs are not forgotten,” said Grout. “With all of these challenges facing military children, it’s imperative that we join together within our communities and with our schools to provide support to these kids.” 
There are countless ways you can show your appreciation to our nation’s military kids during the Month of the Military Child, and all year long. We need to come together to celebrate their selflessness and sacrifice from behind the scenes as they too, serve our country. 
“Units can contact their nearest United Service Organizations (USOs), and the USO will provide opportunities to help with events and activities,” Grout recommended. “Contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to offer your help — the ALA recommends this in the Children & Youth Program Engagement Plan. If you don’t live near a military facility, offer your help to local schools.” 
In addition to April focusing on military children, there is also a specific day to honor them — Purple Up! Day — April 15, 2024. On this special day, people are encouraged to wear purple as a symbol of support for military kids. Purple symbolizes the combined colors of the branches of the military — Army green, Marine Corps red, Navy blue, Air Force blue, and Coast Guard blue. Purple Up! Day raises awareness of the unique challenges faced by military children, including frequent moves, deployments, and separations from loved ones. This day also serves as a reminder that these young heroes face obstacles not experienced by their civilian peers.

“Military children don’t wear a badge that identifies them as military children — their friends and family know, but it’s not something shared elsewhere,” said Grout. “Wearing purple is a quiet but powerful way to show those military kids you care.”
Ways to celebrate Month of the Military Child

Get involved in schools. Contact your local schools and ask if you or your unit can devote a special day to military kids with a breakfast or lunch to show your appreciation. 
• Volunteer your time. Volunteer at military events and activities in your area. Military bases offer events and celebration-like festivals and carnivals in April. Contact your closest military base or USO for any opportunities. 
• Plan an event at your American Legion post home for military children. Plan fun crafts, followed by a dinner. Ask them to share their story and the adventures they’ve experienced. 
• Wear purple on Purple Up! Day. Encourage your community members, friends, family, and Legion Family members to wear purple on Purple Up! Day. Anyone can support our military children — ask as many people as you can to acknowledge this day. 
• Raise awareness. Share pictures of your American Legion Family wearing purple, and post them on social media to spread awareness. Post photos to the ALA Children & Youth Facebook group at Ask your local mayor, state senator, or state representative to recognize Purple Up! Day. 
• Share information. Contact your local newspaper, radio station, or news station so they can include a segment about MOMC and spread the word about this important month. 

ALA Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.