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The diversity of military families

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Carlos Barter
  • 90th Missile Wing Equal Opportunity Office NCO-in-charge
Throughout my military career and many assignments at different locations, my family and I have had the opportunity to meet and befriend numerous other military families. We have shared great times and some difficult times as well. Our bonds of friendship have endured over time and distance. It was not too long ago that I realized how military families have such a great impact in our communities.

Diversity is synonymous with military families. It dawned on me that it is the cornerstone and pillar of our military communities. Throughout the U.S. military services, military families are composed of a rich and diverse myriad of people from all over the world -- different races, religions, and cultures just to name a few. Although sometimes overlooked, military families make many contributions to their military and civilian communities thus enhancing the quality of life.

Living in open and diverse military communities provides us opportunities to learn, teach and share information about cultural traditions and values. It could be learning a new language from a neighbor, tasting a food from another country or observing a long time tradition. These experiences help not only our military families, but our civilian communities' families grow and learn to be receptive, appreciative and understanding of others' differences. Our kids also greatly benefit from exposure to different ways of life. Between moving around from place to place and interacting in diverse communities, many military kids adapt and learn how to fit in just about anywhere and make new friends fast.

As a military family member, dealing with change is a way of life. Changes include adjusting to a deployment, moving to a new location, getting a new job or a change in a spouse's work schedule. Although diversity celebrates differences, military families of all backgrounds come together, reach out to help and support other families or persons in times of need. This is just one example of the many contributions of the military family. Their diversity can have other positive impacts on others.

As we observe Military Family Month, remember that they are the cornerstone and pillar of our community. Let us not forget how culturally diverse our military families are, as well as, the sacrifices they continue to make in support of their loved ones. Remember there is not only strength in unity and numbers, but also in diversity.