This year’s Military Spouse Appreciation Day is May 6.
Traditionally, it’s the Friday before Mother’s Day, building on the idea that 92 percent of military spouses are women, C. Eddy Mentzer, associate director of military community support programs for the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, said.
Although the commemoration lasts only one day, facilities around the world hold various spousal appreciation events throughout the month, as do many military service and veteran organizations.
Military OneSource hosts a variety of events on different days throughout May. Mentzer said the first Military OneSource event this month is a three-day virtual symposium specifically for the military spouse community, scheduled for May 10-12.
Activities planned for this virtual symposium include:
- Sesame Street for Military Families
- Career Building Skills
- Discover his talent
- Personal branding
- Job Search Tips
- Find the right balance in life
- Tips for thriving at work
- Ideas to save money
- How to become an entrepreneur
- Guide to stronger relationships
“With a million military spouses in the active and reserve components, it’s a million individual stories,” Mentzer said, referring to the unique life experiences of each of those spouses.
“It’s something as a department that we really need to recognize. While we can’t solve every challenge, we need to listen to those unique individual stories,” he said.
Military spouses are important for several reasons, Mentzer said, including managing the home front when the service member is deployed and providing moral and emotional support.
Knowing that the military takes good care of spouses and families has a major impact on troop morale and readiness, he said. It also influences their decision to re-engage or not.
Mentzer can speak with authority about military spouses because he’s been one for 21 years and still is. He was also at the forefront of preparing military families for more than 30 years as a federal civilian, spending more than a decade working in the office of the Secretary of Defense.
His wife, Eries, an Air Force colonel, is the wing commander of Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. They have one child, Jaxson, who is 11 years old.
“One of the things we talk about quite often is focusing on complementary, not competing careers. And you know, it’s doable. It’s not easy. We’ve each had to make sacrifices. But we have also been able to achieve a lot,” he said.
Mentzer said military life must have rubbed off on Jaxson, whose goal is to become a military journalist. He turns 12 this month, so in a few years that goal will be within reach.
Visit the Military Spouse Appreciation Month page for resources and information and to register for the symposium.
About the military community and family policy
The Military Community and Family Policy is directly responsible for establishing and overseeing quality of life policies and programs that help our service members, their families and survivors be well and ready for the mission. Military OneSource is the gateway to programs and services that meet the daily needs of the 5.2 million service members and immediate family members of the military community. These Department of Defense services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year anywhere in the world.
Learn more about Military Spouse Appreciation Day
On April 17, 1984, President Ronald Reagan established Military Spouse Appreciation Day with Proclamation 5184, recognizing the countless sacrifices and contributions made by military spouses since the days of the Continental Army and Navy.
In 1999, Congress formally incorporated Military Spouse Appreciation Day into National Military Appreciation Month to recognize the many sacrifices military spouses make by setting aside their personal and professional aspirations for their service member.