WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — A life of uncertainty is not unique to a military child.
Military children’s lives are constantly moved around the world and they must adapt to new environments, sometimes every year.
Ava Connell is in first grade but has lived all over the world to support her father who is a U.S. Army soldier.
“I’ve lived in Georgia, I’ve lived in Japan, I’ve lived in Kansas and then I lived [in New York],” she said.
Sixth-grader Audrey Blik has similar stories to tell about military life.
“I get to move around a lot and meet a lot of new people,” she shared. “And get great experiences everywhere.”
The North Country is familiar with the lifestyle given its ties to the Fort Drum military installation, which is home to over 5,000 children. This is why communities in the area, including Fort Drum have been dedicated to military children.
Fort Drum Garrison Commander Col. James Zacchino Jr. signed a proclamation that officially designated April as the Month of the Military Child. Col. Zacchino said he personally understands the sacrifices military children give.
“Growing up as a son of a first sergeant stationed at the 10th Mountain Division, living that way of life. And my son, being a fifth grader and already having moved, already lived in three countries, three states and six schools, it hits home,” he expressed. “Has a special place in the heart.”
Schools such as the Carthage Central School District have also led their own Month of the Military Child celebrations, including an event that invited all of its military families.
“They sometimes endure long periods of separation, frequent moves and the uncertainty of the safety of their loved ones,” Superintendent Jennifer Premo said at the event. “Despite these challenges, military children embody resilience, strength and bravery.”
The Carthage CSD and Fort Drum officials expressed that they hope that this month brings awareness to the service of military children.
“It makes me feel proud to be a part of something really big here,” Audrey Blik said when asked about her father’s army career.
“It does feel special because he’s fighting for everybody,” Ava Connell said about her father. “He’s saving our earth and our people on earth.”
April has also been designated the Month of the Military Child by New York State and President Joe Biden.