By Staff Sgt. Jacob Morgan
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — April was designated the Month of the Military Child by Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger in 1986, recognizing the contribution the military child makes as their parent or parents serve in the armed forces.
Military children may face several obstacles growing up including frequent moves, family separations and reintegration issues. Peterson AFB honors the sacrifices made by thousands of military children here by holding several events each year during the month of April.
“Our children are our true heroes,” said Dorothy Choate, 21st Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Services Flight chief. “They sacrifice daily solely based upon the choices their parents made. They maintain a significant commitment to their families and the military way of life. That is why it’s important to recognize the contribution of military children alongside their parents.”
The base and the community have come together for many separate events in a showing of support for military children.
The month began with a proclamation read by Maj. Tammy Schlichenmaier, 21st Force Support Squadron commander, and a family breakfast. Later, children and staff from the child development center planted more than 50 pinwheels in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Throughout the month, the youth center and CDCs held various themed events, sports-days and hosted visits from the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department. However, one show of support hosted by the youth center reached off-base.
On April 15, McAullife Elementary School in Colorado Springs School District 11, a school with more than 50 percent of its student body being military children, let their kids wear purple — signifying a mix of all colors of the armed services — as a showing of support for military children. Administrators from District 11 also wore purple and so did children and staff at the youth center as part of Operation Purple Up.
So far, the events have encapsulated the importance of the sacrifices military children make, but there are still more events this month for members to show their support.
A paper art auction will be held at the main CDC and Pete East CDC spanning three days, April 23-25. There will be more than 250 pieces of art and the bidding closes Friday. The money raised will go to the parent advisory board, which holds different events for military children and staff that support them.
A Month of the Military Child Festival will be held at the RP Lee Youth Center gym from 3:30-5:30 p.m. April 30 to close out the celebrations for the month. The event is open to all school age children on base and their parents. The event will feature a bouncy castle, 21st Security Forces Squadron military working dog teams and YMCA aerobics instructors.
“We have been involved in combat operations overseas for more than a decade now,” said Choate. “A lot of these children have spent many months away from their parents or have moved several times; they know nothing else. It is even more important today to hold these events to recognize our youth for their sacrifices.”