A Salute to Our Younger Heroes from an Army Trailblazer

As we wrap up April and the “Month of the Military Child,” the timing seemed perfect to note that the challenges military-connected children face have been going on for decades.

Working on a piece about our younger heroes, I discovered from one of our older heroes that the stories families share today of frustration, disappointment and difficulty when re-locating are hardly new.

Gen. Ann Dunwoody (ret.), the first female four-star general in the Army, shared with me the experiences of her own family. She made the decision to go to a local college to be able to support her mother during the Vietnam era. Her younger sister, moving in her senior year of high school, met the same social and club obstacles that face military students as today’s “new kids.”

While Gen. Dunwoody praises the many services and programs available to assist families with military moves today, she also puts a backward-looking mirror on the present for us as she highlights just how long these issues of curriculum, coursework and athletics have been taxing military-dependent learners.

Dunwoody is quick to note that during her last 12 years in service and the entire time she was a general officer, she was part of an Army at war --- adding additional stressors to service families – and a remaining reality for many still.

So, in this Month of the Military Child, Gen. Dunwoody offers an “I salute you!” to all those involved in proposing real change to the systems that educate service children.

And in turn, we salute those younger heroes who are the inspiration and purpose behind our requests for that real and valid educational change.

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