For many, Memorial Day signifies the start of the summer season with a three-day weekend. But for many others, it is a time to pause and remember the service members who have served and died in our country’s Armed Forces.
America’s Armed Forces and Their FamiliesWhat does our current military look like? According to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) 2015 Demographics: Profile of the Military Community, report Minnesota is home to 492 Active Duty Service members and 18,835 Selected Reserve members (National Guard and Reserve). On a national level, there are 2.4 million Active Duty and Selected Reserve members. Just over half (50.6 percent) of military members are married. Nationally, service members have 3.8 million family members, including spouses, children, and adult dependents.
Helping Families Navigate Transitions
The Family Transitions concentration area provides education, resources and networking opportunities for professionals working with military families to help those families build resilience and navigate life cycle transitions. The MFLN Family Transitions team provides professional development through webinars, wrap around education, and engagement opportunities.
MFLN connects military family service providers and Cooperative Extension educators working with military families to timely and clear research, and to one another. Other concentration areas include Community Capacity Building, Family Development, Military Caregiving, Network Literacy, Nutrition and Wellness, and Personal Finance.
‘Military Family’ Means ‘My Family’I am passionate about providing support for military families because our family is a military family. My husband, David, served 22 ½ years with the South Dakota National Guard 740th Transportation Unit. He was deployed for 9 months for Operation Desert Storm (1990–91) and for 18 months during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003–04). Two of our three children, Kristen and Jesse, as well as our son-in-law Jared, are currently serving in the National Guard. We have experienced firsthand the challenges and joys of serving our country.
daughter Kristen and grandson Luke |
reunite after a weekend guard drill.
Your TurnHow about you? Is anyone in your family in the armed forces? Whether you are related to a military service member or not, I encourage you to celebrate this Memorial Day by remembering those who have sacrificed their lives. Here are some options:
- Take a moment to remember the eighteen MN Army National Guard Service members who have died in combat since 9/11/01. They were someone’s son, brother, spouse, or friend.
- Attend a Memorial Day Service in your community. Your local County Veteran Service Officers could help identify events.
- Check out MFLN’s professional development offerings.
- Engage with MFLN and other service providers by joining us on Facebook (MFLN Family Transitions), on Twitter (@MFLNFT), and on Instagram (mflnft).
- Determine if your community or county has been designated as a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community and join others to provide support for military families. Other options: the local Family Assistance Center or Family Readiness Groups.
- Determine if your current program participants include military service members or family members. Identify opportunities to offer programming for military service members and their families.