Military Families Have Many Stories

11/17/2016 10:07 am ET

President Obama has set aside the entire month of November to celebrate the contributions and sacrifices of the military family. Military Family Month makes a point to help our Nation understand what it means to be a family of service. The many, many stories that military families have and hold best give the rationale for why such a month of recognition was chosen and is deserved.

Military families have stories.

There are stories about address books that are swollen with street numbers, apartment listings, cities, states, towns and countries. All were held at some point in time by the same military family as they journeyed through time with their service member.

Included in those books are the countless points-of-contact they have made, the friends they have left behind and the connections – neighbors, friends, doctors and teachers – life there has offered. It's not a book that lies on any best seller list, but it is the best record of where that family has been and who they've known during their tenure there.

Military families have stories.

These stories are written with uneasy beginnings in new surroundings and yet they close with deep satisfaction for having been sent there. Stories are numerous and frequent, like the moves that prompt them. Families feel displaced and yet they function with great resolve. They find themselves properly planted and thriving despite initial concerns about uprooting. It always seems to work itself out, or at least offers many chances to do so.

Military families have stories.

They are the stories told by the stickers on the backs of their pieces of furniture. The stickers create a mosaic, recording in tiny colored squares the number of times they have been packed up and moved to a new location. They record the journeys the pieces – and the family – have taken. Those pieces may have been placed in different settings, in different rooms, in different countries or even held out of sight in storage, but they have traveled with these folks to all the wondrous spots they have shared. These tiny little stickers have big meaning.

Military families have stories.

There are chapters written about families waiting for a ship to dock. There are chapters about reading to a child across the globe on a DVD to be shared at bedtime. The sky offers a glimpse of an airman's taskings as a plane flies overhead, even as it soars away from its assigned base. When storms strike or when chaos fills the streets, National Guardsmen jump in to dutifully stand America's ground while their families hold their breath for their safe returns.

All of these actions provide the words for paragraphs that build stories and explain a way of life.

Military families have stories. It shares an acronym with Military Families for High Standards: MFHS.

Both capture the essence of what is important for those who share a life with a service member – moments of service, determined by standards of performance that impact outcomes and build stories that consistently record exceptional outcomes.

Military families have stories and they have shared them in a way that even the President of the United States was impressed to learn, recognize -- and share.

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