National Military Spouse Appreciation Day is an annual observance that takes place on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day — May 12 this year. It shows appreciation for the commitment and sacrifice that the spouses of service members make, together with the rest of the family, while they’re away on the mission to defend the country. The day was initiated to recognize the importance of empowering military spouses and ensuring they have what they need to thrive.
History of National Military Spouse Appreciation Day
National Military Spouse Appreciation Day was first observed in 1984 when President Ronald Reagan recognized the importance of spousal commitment to the readiness and well-being of military members with Proclamation 5184, dated April 17, 1984. Shortly after, in 1999, Congress officially made Military Spouse Appreciation Day part of National Military Appreciation Month before the Department of Defense standardized the date by declaring the Friday before Mother’s Day every year as the day to show appreciation for the sacrifices of military spouses — in other words, National Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
The 2021 celebration was held on May 7 and was the first of such under the democratic administration of Biden and Harris. National Military Spouse Appreciation Day is also sometimes known as Military Spouse Day, and this year’s event highlighted how an initiative of the present government, through the office of the First Lady, has empowered more than 100,000 military spouses with employment and training.
Along with the tremendous strength and patriotism they have, military spouses have been noted to endure job losses, adjustments to new environments, and having to learn new survival skills with the frequent and often unexpected developments that sometimes require them to move halfway across the country or even the world, together with their serviceman spouse.
National Military Spouse Appreciation Day timeline
Reagan is born on February 6.
President Reagan declares the holiday after recognizing the profound importance of spousal commitment to the readiness and well-being of military members.
Congress officially makes Military Spouse Appreciation Day part of National Military Appreciation Month.
The new Biden/Harris administration declares the holiday.
National Military Spouse Appreciation Day FAQs
Do military spouses get paid?
There is no monetary benefit or payment for military spouses. The servicemembers can choose to give their spouse from their monthly allotment, but the money is taken out of the servicemembers’ pay.
Do you get money for being married in the military?
No, you don’t get extra pay for getting married. But, the federal government gives servicemembers housing allowances.
Do military spouses get death benefits?
Spouses and children of deceased service members get Death Pension Benefits, Dependents Indemnity Compensation, and Accrued Disability Compensation Benefits.
How to Observe National Military Spouse Appreciation Day
Give your military spouse a day off
If you are an employer and you have military wives and husbands on your team, there's no better way to show them that you appreciate the service of their spouses than by giving them a day off. It is one of the best ways to celebrate National Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
Thank a military spouse
As a way to observe the day and appreciate the sacrifice of servicemen and women’s spouses, say "thank you" to them. Show that you recognize the burden they carry and support them through it.
Encourage them to join official celebration events
Encourage a military spouse you know to join official observance events organized by the defense ministry. You may encourage them to join the Blue Star Families virtual Military Spouse Appreciation Day Town Hall that’s typically held around the day, or hold your own one-of-a-kind event, filled with lots of fun, games, and giveaways. You can also use #MilitarySpouseAppreciationDay to post on social media.
5 Important Facts About Military Spouses
They have a challenging role
The role of the military spouse can be very challenging, given that they often relocate the family, sometimes with little notice.
Nancy Davis Reagan was a military spouse
The First Lady who initiated the day was a military spouse.
Thousands are currently being helped
An initiative to help military spouses gain employment called Joining Forces has supported more than 180,000 military spouses.
Military spouses and the First Lady office
There have been several First Ladies who were considered military spouses due to their husband's service in the military.
The Secretary of Defense and the holiday
The U.S. Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, was responsible for standardizing the date of the holiday after he declared the Friday preceding Mother's Day as National Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
Why National Military Spouse Appreciation Day is Important
It honors the sacrifice
Aside from enduring frequent changes and unexpected developments in their lives, military spouses often bear the responsibilities of caring for the family and preparing the kids for many unknowns during military life, even when they cannot make plans for more than a few days in advance. National Military Spouse Appreciation Day recognizes these sacrifices.
It strengthens the commitment
Like every human, when someone you love is hurting, you feel the hurt with them. And, if you happen to be a service member in that position where you are forced to choose between your wish for your family and defending your country, you may not be focused on the mission. National Military Spouse Appreciation Day is important because it strengthens the commitment of servicemen and women, assuring them that their family is being appreciated and celebrated while they are away.
It shows appreciation
The very existence of the holiday is to show appreciation to the men and women that chose to serve their country. It reminds them that the country has their back while they defend it.
National Military Spouse Appreciation Day dates