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Betty Welsh

Wife of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III

Nov. 6, 2012 - 06:32PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 6, 2012 - 06:32PM  |  
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The life of a military family is filled with more than its fair share of challenges and sacrifices.

Our children grow up understanding sacrifice, live with the concept of service, grow with resiliency and serve by supporting their active-duty parent. Often, mom or dad miss birthdays, school activities and sporting events. We share these missed times through video, photos, letters, emails, Skype or, when possible, celebrating on a day when mom or dad are home. This is the norm for our military children, and many accept it as a badge of honor — something that is difficult for those outside the military to understand.

Our spouses are strong, compassionate, flexible and knowledgeable. They support each other, their spouse and our military every day! We move multiple times, adjusting to new places, friends and surroundings. People often say, "You've done this so many times; it must be easy now." And I think, "No, it's not easier! You just get better at adjusting and dealing with the commotion, changes and challenges that have now become your ‘new normal.' "

We can't change the fact that we are moving to a new place, so we just get better at making adjustments and settling in. We learn that the better mom or dad deal with the move, the better the family does. They model our behavior and that influence extends well beyond the immediate family. It extends into our military family!

Our military family is our strongest ally! We depend on each other for support and strength. We reach out to each other in times of need, support in times of stress and a shoulder to cry on whenever needed.

In spite of the challenges, I believe our military families have incredible opportunities. They meet new people. They live in new places. They experience new cultures. They are active in the community and in the schools. They make a difference wherever they go.

As the nation observes National Military Family Month, it brings attention to the service, strength and sacrifices of military families. While these families do it out of love and pride for their soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or Coast Guardsman, we can't ever thank them enough!

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