Carter Lake Elementary School’s principal, teachers, administrators and staff, as well as invited guests and parents, paused to honor military children April 27 as part of the monthlong recognition of April as Month of the Military Child.
“This is our opportunity to acknowledge and be thankful for the service of all military children and what a spectacular representation of military children we have right in front of us,” said a Carter Lake Elementary School military and family life counselor.
April was designated Month of the Military Child by the Department of Defense in 1986 to set aside a time to honor the sacrifices of the more than 1.7 million children of military members serving in the U.S. and overseas. Carter Lake, which is located on McChord Field, is one of several schools in the Pacific Northwest that support the children of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines stationed in this area.
Allen Patty, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who is the Lakes High School Army JROTC senior Army instructor, highlighted the leadership, academic and scholarship opportunities youth may be able to benefit from as they progress through school.
“(These cadets) are military children … (who) were in your position not too long ago and now they are responsible for the care of (other cadets) … they have to make sure they have their training, have their uniforms done and they’re doing the right thing,” Patty said. “There are lots of things you can do as you make your way from Carter Lake Elementary School, junior high and on to high school; JROTC programs are a great way to be a better citizen and a better leader, and a lot of our (cadets) are competing for scholarships.”
Lieutenant Colonel Beth Lane, 62nd Airlift Wing director of staff, understands the challenges of being a military child personally. Her introduction, given by her son, Josh Lane, revealed she moved seven times and lived in three different countries before graduating from high school.
“I was a military child as well, and I don’t know what to say when people ask me where I’m from,” Lane said. “I left a lot of friends, but I also gained a lot of friends. I was you when I was growing up and now my sons, Josh (8) and William (11), are you, and they’ve moved a ton and they’ve lived in three different countries as well.”
Lane thanked the kids, many of whom she can relate to, for their support of their parents who serve in the military.
“As a military child, we’re resilient, we make friends pretty easily and we speak a secret language,” Lane said. “Moving from being in your shoes, a military kid, to now being a proud member of the military myself, I want to thank each and every one of you for your courage, your support and your service to our country. On behalf of your parents, I salute you.”
• Editor’s note: The name of the Carter Lake Elementary School military and family life counselor is being withheld by request due of the sensitive nature of this position and to maintain confidentiality with the community serviced.