CHARLESTON, W.Va. —
Children are one third of our population, and all of our future.
Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the planet and our world has changed dramatically. The novel has replaced what we considered normal, and we all have had to endure disruption to our schedules, our routines, and our lifestyles. Some of the most impacted by these necessary changes has been our children.
As a father of two sons who are now in the National Guard, I understand the unique challenges and sacrifices that are required of our military children during normal times. Today, we are asking even more of them as our National Guard members are leading the response to COVID-19 or are deployed overseas, our schools are closed for the remainder of the year and life seems to be shifting to a new normal of social distancing and staying at home.
Military children are unique. They are resilient. They are flexible and understanding. The very nature of our service in uniform means that they grow up understanding and living through changes to schedules, routines, and lifestyles when parents train and deploy as a regular part of their lives. They inherently understand how to survive and thrive during times of difficult transition, unease, worry, and fear.
They are perhaps the best prepared among any segment of our population to weather this invisible storm we all now find ourselves in.
April is designated as Month of the Military Child, and while each year we mark this month with celebration of their resilience and tenacity, this year has been overshadowed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even in the midst of this battle we are facing, we recognize the service and sacrifices that our military children undergo as an extension of their parent’s service to our great State and Nation.
They are a beacon of hope and steadfast in their contributions to our military families. We look to them to set the example for their generation of what leadership looks like – whether in their family or in their community. They continue to step up to this challenge each day.
As an addition to our military family – the cadets of our Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy and Future Leaders Program also embody these characteristics of resilience, leadership, and tenacity. We celebrate them as well during Month of the Military Child. We are thankful for their contributions and that of their families for the role they play in encouraging service for the next generation of leaders in West Virginia.
I encourage everyone to join me in celebrating our military children throughout the remainder of April and beyond. They are the foundation of the future success of our State and our Nation. I also want to remind you that many resources are available for military kids and families through our Family Readiness Groups and Airmen and Family Programs. This team of dedicated individuals is available to assist with any needs you or your children may have – please reach out to them. Every member who wears the uniform is here to help and support each other through this crisis and beyond.