Obama on Military Veterans Mental Health

November: For Military and Caregivers

At the beginning of this month, Barack Obama dedicated November to two important segments in society: Military Family Month and National Family Caregivers Month.  In his declaration speech as recorded in a government news article, the President said, “with every step we take on American soil, we tread on ground made safer for us through the invaluable sacrifices of our service members and their families.”   

Military veterans – as with many of the country’s elderly – are too often forgotten. Of course, in all cases this is sad, but with the military it seems even more outrageous and unacceptable.  These individuals who dedicated the best part of their lives to the country, need to be recognized for their hard work and cared for in their old age.  Thus November will be a special time to remember and recognize their “strength and sacrifice.”  Mr. Obama added, “just as our troops embody the courage and character that make America's military the finest in the world, their family members embody the resilience and generosity that make our communities strong.”

Being in the military is hard on everyone, not just the soldier. The wives have to carry on for many months at a time without their spouses; children have to live their lives without a parent and will often need to take on extra responsibilities that are not in the usual realm for a child that age and a lot of support is needed from grandparents as well.  As the president duly noted, “to these families, and to those whose service members who never come home, we bear a debt that can never be fully repaid.”  Thus November will be recognizing this effort – the effort made by all family caregivers.   

National Family Caregivers Association – History

It all began back in 1994.  During the last week of November – Thanksgiving week – family caregivers were celebrated.  Shortly after that first year, the week extended to the whole month.  It was President Clinton who, in 1997, signed the first presidential proclamation to “appreciate family caregivers.”  This tradition has continued each year with every single President.  And now, Obama has added the Military Family Month to November along with the proclamation recognizing the caregivers.

Why are caregivers so important? Every single day, over 65 million of them throughout America are making huge sacrifices while caring for their loved ones.  They rarely – if ever – get a break.  It is a huge and cumbersome task that they take on.  Thus their efforts are being duly recognized throughout the month of November.