Carter Lake Elementary honors military children

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Shanda L. De Anda
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Friday, Carter Lake Elementary School’s principal, teachers, administrators and staff, as well as invited guests and parents, paused to honor military children as part of the month-long recognition of April as Month of the Military Child.

“This is our opportunity to acknowledge and be thankful for the service of all military children and what a spectacular representation of military children we have right in front of us,” said the Carter Lake Elementary School military and family life counselor (MFLC). [Editor’s Note: The name is withheld in honor of the sensitive nature of this position and to maintain confidentiality with community serviced.]

April was designated Month of the Military Child by the Department of Defense in 1986 to set aside a time to honor the sacrifices of the more than 1.7 million children of military members serving in the U.S. and overseas. Carter Lake, which is located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, is one of several schools in the Pacific Northwest that support the children of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines stationed in this area. 

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Allen Patty, Lakes High School Army JROTC senior Army instructor, highlighted the leadership, academic and scholarship opportunities youth may be able to benefit from as they progress through school. 

“[These cadets] are military children … [who] were in your position not too long ago and now they are responsible for the care of [other cadets] … they have to make sure they have their training, have their uniforms done and they’re doing the right thing,” Patty confided in the crowd. 

“There are lots of things you can do as you make your way from Carter Lake Elementary School, junior high and on to high school; JROTC programs are a great way to be a better citizen and a better leader, and a lot of our [cadets] are competing for scholarships.”

MFLC explained. “This is why we take this time to acknowledge our military children; now is the opportunity to recognize them for their heroism, their character, their courage, the sacrifices that they make, and their amazing resilience.” 

Her sentiment was shared by the final guest speaker, Lt. Col. Beth Lane, 62nd Airlift Wing director of staff, who understands the challenges of being a military child personally. Her introduction, given by her son, Josh Lane, revealed she moved seven times and lived in three different countries before graduating from high school. 

“I was a military child as well and I don’t know what to say when people ask me where I’m from. I left a lot of friends, but I also gained a lot of friends,” she shared with the enthusiastic crowd. “I was you when I was growing up and now my sons, Josh (8) and William (11), are you and they’ve moved a ton and they’ve lived in three different countries as well.” 

“As a military child we’re resilient, we make friends pretty easily and we speak a secret language. Moving from being in your shoes, a military kid, to now being a proud member of the military myself, I want to thank each and every one of you for your courage, your support and your service to our country. On behalf of your parents, I salute you.”