May 6, 2022 is “U.S. Military Spouse Appreciation Day” and that is a day that is personally meaningful to me. My wife was a career military spouse. So was my mother. So, also was my mother-in-law as well as many other relatives. On this special day of acknowledgment, the Korea Defense Veterans Association salutes and APPRECIATES all of the U.S. Military Spouses, past and present, who have endured sacrifices and hardships not understood by most of their fellow citizens. These spouses gave their warriors a reason to serve and the support needed to do it. Military spouses also served in their own ways — building a community of support for other military spouses and families, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their warriors, adapting to constantly changing environments and locations, volunteering on military installations and in surrounding communities, making careers that ran concurrently with the service of their spouses, and so much more.
We particularly acknowledge and appreciate the spouses of 1.8 million Korean War Veterans and of the 3.3 million Korea Defense Veterans. For most of the seven decades of the U.S. military presence in Korea, military spouses were not permitted to be present in Korea — meaning long periods of separation waiting in worry for their warriors to return to them. And for too many, those spouses recognized with a Gold Star, their warrior spouses did not return alive. In recent decades, military spouses and families have been permitted to accompany their warriors while serving the Alliance in Korea. Their presence in the military communities of U.S. Forces Korea added a dimension that made overseas service in Korea a “home away from home.” And I can personally attest to the fact that the Korean people, especially the spouses of Korean military members, made U.S. military spouses feel like long-lost relatives, forging lifelong relationships that are a key thread in the fabric of the ROK-U.S. Alliance.
Veterans, let us be grateful for the military spouses who served the U.S. and the Alliance so selflessly. I intend to let the military spouses in my family know how much I appreciate them, on May 6 and every other day as well.
Thank you, U.S. Military Spouses! We appreciate you.
Vincent K. Brooks
General, U.S. Army (Retired)
Chairman & President
Korea Defense Veterans Association