TRENTON, N.J. – In recognition of the challenges children face and the sacrifices they make when they have a parent in the military, Governor Phil Murphy signed a bipartisan resolution (SJR-106) into law to designate April 14 as “Military Child Appreciation Day” in New Jersey each year.
“The children of military members face unique challenges as a result of their parent’s service that it is important we recognize,” said Governor Murphy, in a prepared statement on April 14, 2023. “Designating an annual Military Child Appreciation Day encourages the residents of New Jersey to honor the sacrifices these children make and serves as a reminder that we must continue to support and address the needs of military families throughout our state.”
“Few know the sacrifices of our military families better than our children,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Lisa J. Hou, D.O., New Jersey’s Adjutant General and Commissioner for Military and Veteran Affairs. “May the focus of this special day help them feel uniquely appreciated.”
Going forward, public officials and residents are encouraged to observe this day with activities and programs to commemorate and support children of military members.
The designation of this day is part of ongoing efforts in New Jersey and around the nation to raise awareness about the needs of military families, according to the statement. One such effort includes the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children – which New Jersey has joined – that removes barriers to educational success children of military families face due to frequent moves and the deployment of their parents.
Sponsors of the bill include Senators Jean Stanfield and Anthony Bucco, as well as Assembly members Gerry Scharfenberger, Victoria Flynn, and Angela McKnight.
“Children of military service members face many unique responsibilities during their school years,” said Senator Stanfield. “Between K-12, military children can move to different locations six to nine times, which separates them from family and friends as well as familiar social environments. This legislation will formally recognize these young American heroes for their daily sacrifices and the distinctive challenges they must overcome.”
“The transient nature of military life creates many obstacles for active-duty spouses and their children. Military families are frequently reassigned to duty stations across the nation and the world—requiring children to enter new schools and make new friends at a moment’s notice,” said Senator Bucco. “With the signing of this legislation, New Jersey will further its commitment to the brave men and women who serve this nation by supporting and recognizing all military children, and by pledging its gratitude for their sacrifices.”
“It’s not just our enlisted or commissioned men and women who endure frequent moves and live with the reality that they may be away from their families for months,” said Assemblyman Scharfenberger. “We have almost 2 million children in the United States whose mothers and fathers serve in the military. The children make tremendous sacrifices as well. It is appropriate we take a day to recognize them.”
“Military children carry a unique burden that even many adults just don’t understand,” said Assemblywoman Flynn. “It’s good to bring attention to the needs of these very special warriors who maybe can’t articulate everything they’re feeling, who need to know they are seen and appreciated for the sacrifices they don’t have a choice in making.”
“Members of the military deserve to be honored for the sacrifices they have made in service to our country, but we would be remiss in not also acknowledging the unique challenges their children face having a parent in the armed forces,” said Assemblywoman McKnight. “Honoring military children and recognizing the sacrifices they have made — such as being away from their loved ones or following relocation orders — is the right thing to do. I am proud this legislation is being signed into law to designate Military Child Appreciation Day in New Jersey. These children deserve recognition.”