It is without question that those who serve or who have served our nation are owed the greatest respect and care for their selflessness. Building a strong support system for our service members and veterans means that we must also reinforce their foundations, and most importantly, their family units. Unfortunately, the specific needs of military families are often overlooked, which can be detrimental to their prosperity and success. When my husband enlisted in the Marine Corps, I thought I was well prepared for obstacles we would face such as deployments and moves, but what I didn't understand was how deeply this lifestyle would impact my view of who I was. That is not to say that I wasn't immensely proud of my husband.
The soldier embraces his family before shipping out. The spouse stoically waves goodbye knowing heartache and worry are about to take hold. Thoughts creep in that life as they know it could soon be shattered. It's a scene Nikki Batts has played out twice with her Army husband and one she fears going through again with her 18-year-old son who just finished Army Reserve training. The mother to six children, including a transgender son, has led a difficult life as a military spouse, overcoming long bouts of not being able to communicate with her husband and swallowing fears that he might not return home from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Monday, President Donald J. Trump will sign an executive order to help sea veterans seamlessly transition into the United States Merchant Marine. By simultaneously expanding veteran opportunities for great jobs at great wages while strengthening our Merchant Marine, this action embodies a key principle of the Trump administration: economic security is national security. The civilian men and women of the United States Merchant Marine who pilot sealift vessels represent a mission-critical component of United States military readiness. In World War II alone, nearly 10,000 merchant mariners were killed by enemy fire and died at a rate of 1 in 26 – a casualty rate higher than any branch of the United States military. Their willingness to serve and their sacrifice continue to play a vital role in America's defense.
There are holidays, events, and even corporate discounts designed to honor members of the military and veterans – but the spouses and families quietly loving and supporting them are deserving of fanfare as well. That's why on the Friday before Mother's Day every year we observe National Military Spouse Appreciation Day – to celebrate the inestimable contributions of those who stand behind and support service men and women bravely defending our nation. Those who serve in the military are deserving of our respect and admiration for a multitude of reasons. It is not an easy job. Defenders of our country know that in addition to the professional challenges they face, there are also many unique challenges that military families experience in their personal lives as well.
On a shelf next to the register are rows of green-and-white mugs reading: "Proudly serving those who serve." On Tuesday, the Clarksville store became one of 37 around the country designated by the coffeehouse chain as "Military Family Stores" -- stores staffed primarily by veterans and military spouses as part of a larger effort to employ service members and their families nationwide. A group of newly-hired veterans pictured at a Starbucks' Military Family Store in Norfolk, Virginia. "Seventy-five percent of my business is the military," said 47-year-old Feltz, a 14-year military spouse whose husband is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army. "We are so excited about this announcement," Feltz told Fox News.