A few weeks ago, the collective heart of our nation paused in grim reflection on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. We joined a National Day of Service to honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Yet while our nation has taken a moment to reflect, a growing number of those who have borne the burden of 20 years of war feel more disconnected from their communities and civilian neighbors. The evidence for the growing “military-civilian divide” is growing, compelling and deeply disturbing.
The military-civilian divide
Last year, Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey found that nearly 75% of active duty respondents do not feel connected to their local communities. Another 79% strongly believe that those who do not serve in uniform have no understanding of the military service experience or the sacrifices made by military members, veterans and their families. A 2018 survey found that only one in five Americans even knew the war in Afghanistan was still ongoing, and 42% believed the global war on terror was over. you are beautiful
It is important to note that the costs and consequences of this divide extend beyond the challenges that military personnel, veterans and families face on a daily basis. The Defense Ministry and its senior leadership have repeatedly expressed concern that the growing division between the military and civilians poses a major threat to national security.
These concerns may be compounded by a number of additional stressors currently facing military and veteran families.
In addition to the strong emotions felt following the final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of military families have just finished moving to new homes as deployments continue, and many face uncertainty. with the resurgence of COVID-19 and the changes associated with remote or in-person working and return-to-school schedules.
Blue Star Welcome Week 2021
This is why the moment of Blue Star Families annual Blue Star Welcome Week it couldn’t be better. Created to recognize the more than 600,000 families of active duty and transitioning military and veterans who move each year to new communities, Blue Star Welcome Week is an opportunity for military and veteran families across the country to learn more about their community, connect with their neighbors and feel a sense of belonging in their new home.
Over the past few days – thanks in large part to our nonprofit partners in the White Oak Collaborative, community influencers, and resources like the VA / s blog – we’ve seen civilian families across the country getting involved in tangible ways to welcome their military and veteran neighbors into their communities.
With in person and virtual Blue Star Welcome Week activities that take place this weekend, you can also help.
For fellow veterans, as well as family and friends, we ask that you take three simple, concrete steps to help do Blue Star Welcome Week 2021 a resounding success for families like yours nationwide:
Sign a Welcome card to send to a military or veteran family who recently moved to a community near you.
- Wear a specially designed paracord bracelet, and share a photo of yourself wearing it on social media. Encourage your family and friends to do the same!
We understand Blue Star Welcome week, in and of itself, will not resolve a gap we have experienced in 50 years of collective service as a joint United States Marine Corps and Marine Corps, and on which we have worked together for more than a decade in as leaders of non-profit organizations; however, this is an important step in the right direction.
Engagements like these offer military, veteran and civilian families a shared experience and reestablish the human connection. If done repeatedly in communities nationwide, they will also bridge the civil-military divide.
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