What led up to the Declaration of Independence? Yes, it certified America as being independent of Britain, but influential thinkers like John Adams — who was initially considered a radical for wanting complete separation — didn’t become mainstream until Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” publication. This piece will explore the development of how the idea of full independence came to be.

King George’s mercilessness shaped later public opinion

At the very beginning of the Revolution, most colonists didn’t want independence from Britain, but reconciliation. Still feeling loyal to King George III and Britain but opposed to the extreme taxes and unfair laws imposed upon them, they wanted to make a deal with the king and return as British citizens.

John Adams was one of the first individuals who called for full independence — to make America its own nation and government. However, he and others who thought like him were unable to change the majority opinions of the colonists — for a time.

Public sentiment started to shift as King George III ramped up his efforts to eliminate the rebels. When news of his intentions reached the colonies, the ideals of Adams and other “radicals” rapidly became more popular.

However, even this wasn’t the turning point. Many conservatives still held on to the idea that reconciliation was possible. The notion that America should be fully independent only became cemented in the majority of colonists’ minds after Thomas Paine published a pamphlet titled “Common Sense.”

"The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."“The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.”

“Common Sense” and its influence

Thomas Paine’s 47-page “Common Sense” pamphlet was published in Philadelphia in January 1776. Within it, Paine illustrated a passionate ideal for American exceptionalism. Believing America represented a “promise” that could only be achieved through total independence and separation between Americans and Britains, he laid out his case that this was the only natural option.

“Common Sense” was immensely popular. Its ideas influenced a massive number of colonists and galvanized support for the Revolution. By the time the Revolutionary War ended, it had sold about 500,000 copies — an astronomical number for its time. The publication would even influence some parts of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Jumping back to 1776, the Continental Congress soon adopted Paine’s idea of separating from Britain and forging a new nation. On July 2, about seven months after Paine’s publication was released, Congress held a vote on declaring independence. The Declaration of Independence was ratified on the 4th and America became its own nation.

Thomas Paine’s humble beginnings belied his impact on history

Born in Thetford, England in 1737, Thomas Paine had little formal education and was plagued by a series of job failures and tragedies.

His luck would pick up when he met Benjamin Franklin in the spring of 1774. Offering Paine a letter of introduction so he could start a new life there, Franklin suggested he move to the American colonies. In November, Paine would arrive in Philadelphia and soon began editing the Pennsylvania Magazine. It was here he wrote a series of pieces following his ideals.

While nothing he wrote came anywhere near the influence of “Common Sense,” Paine wrote other essays and pamphlets. These included “The Age of Reason” and “Rights of Man,” which discussed religion’s role in society and a defense of the French Revolution, respectively. Another example proving he was well ahead of his time is “African Slavery in America,” a piece condemning the slave trade.

Celebrate the history of America’s independence this July 4th

America may never have been its own nation without the ideals and philosophies of people such as John Adams and Thomas Paine. This Independence Day, be grateful that these immensely influential and historically invaluable individuals helped bring you the liberty you have today.



If you’re a servicemember, veteran, dependent or any other eligible type of passenger, you may qualify for free accommodations on Space-A flights if a vacancy is available.

What is a Space-A flight?

Space-A stands for space-available flight and is also referred to as military hopping. If a Department of Defense (DoD) aircraft has vacancies when traveling between air bases, eligible persons may fill these seats at no charge, according to the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. The purpose of Space-A is to give certain types of people the freedom to travel on flights that have vacancies.

Space-A flights can be on commercial airplanes, but they might also be on fuel tankers or cargo aircraft.

"The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."“The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.”

The different categories of travelers

Depending on who you are and the reason for your travel, you’re placed in one of six categories. When Space-A considers who gets priority when someone requests to fill a vacancy, the lower categories get picked first. Here are the different categories and what they might include:

Category 1: Emergency leave travel

The emphasis here is on the word “emergency.” People who might qualify for this category include DoD civilian employees who are stationed overseas or full-time American Red Cross employees serving in a military capacity.

Category 2: Accompanied environmental and morale leave (EML)

This might include DoD Dependent School (DoDDS) teachers on vacation or sponsors traveling for EML purposes.

Category 3: Ordinary leave, house hunting TDY

Those on ordinary leave or military members who are house hunting (following PCS orders) generally qualify for this rank.

Category 4: Unaccompanied dependents on EML

Family members on EML are in this tier. This also encompasses DoDDS teachers and their family members.

Category 5: Permissive TDY, students, dependents, post-deployment/mobilization respite absence

If their sponsor is stationed overseas or in Alaska or Hawaii, students fall into this group.

Category 6: Retirees, dependents, reservists and disabled veterans

This category would apply to these types of flyers on vacation, for example.

How to sign up for Space-A flights

Signing up for a Space-A flight is very different from booking a seat on a commercial aircraft. You won’t be using traditional airports or booking accommodation at all; instead, you’ll communicate with an Air Mobility Command (AMC) Passenger Terminal to reserve a spot.

These are instructions to keep in mind, according to AMC. More information can be found on their website.

  1. Ensure your eligibility. There are six categories of travel that determine your eligibility for Space-A, with lower categories getting higher priority. This includes emergency leave, unfunded travel, and accompanied or unaccompanied environmental and morale leave (EML). Which category you fall into depends on the reason behind your travel and your duty status.
  2. Check which locations are available. Review your closest AMC Passenger Terminal through their social media page or website.
  3. Make sure your documents are in order. Look at which travel documents you need to prepare before your flight. This includes your passport (with visas, if applicable).
  4. Register at an AMC Passenger Terminal.
  5. Look at flight schedules. There is a 72-hour flight schedule on the American Forces Public Information Management System (AFPIMS) web page.
  6. Check-in at the terminal counter. Familiarize yourself with any newly updated flight information and declare that you are present. If everything is in order, the terminal will give you a Space-A call when they’re ready for you to board.

Roam the skies for free with Space-A flights

While not everyone is eligible to ride on a Space-A flight under all circumstances, as long as you meet the basic requirements, you can take advantage of this perk. For more information, contact your nearest AMC passenger terminal.



In the military, you learn certain skills that stick with you throughout your life such as dedication, persistence, and attention to details. And that’s not even counting the specific job aptitudes you may have or learned while in the service.

A challenge veterans and their families often face when returning to civilian life is the transition to working in a non-military job. Thankfully, employers often appreciate those who have armed forces veteran status on their resumes. There are many businesses that specifically advertise to veterans and their families.

Here, we’ll go into a few of those employers that are currently looking for people from the armed forces
to work for them.


Amazon advertises its need for employees with veteran status and even provides a helpful cheat sheet. This can tell you how the specific skills you learned in the armed forces would translate to being an effective employee. By filling out details about your service, such as which branch you served in, your rank and the number of years you were active, they’ll match you for a certain position.

The enterprise also features military recruiting teams that hold virtual hiring events. There are also apprenticeships available that can teach you how to build a career in cloud computing, which should be attractive to those with IT experience. Amazon even offers a Military SkillBridge program designed to help you transition from military life to civilian life if you’re within 180 days of leaving the service.

The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Capital One

Capital One claims to “value the service and sacrifice of our veterans, active military personnel and their families… accountability, collaboration, leadership and dedication make you a crucial member of our team.”

What special benefits do they have to appeal to veterans? Well, for starters, you can expect:

  • Military training and active duty time off. Capital One claims that you can take up to eight weeks for training or active duty if you’re called to serve during your employment at the company. They even offer a pay differential between your company salary and military pay after you come back to work.
  • Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP). As a partner of MSEP, Capital One offers advantages to the spouses of service members.
  • On-leave job security. If you need to go on leave for any reason, your job will be protected for a reasonable amount of time.
  • Secondary insurance in addition to your military benefits. Dental, vision, supplemental life coverage, flexible spending accounts and medical care are offered to veterans working for Capital One. If you’re on leave, these benefits persist.


As a top leader in the telecommunications, technology and networking industries, Cisco is always looking for bright new talent, especially those who have experience with these fields.

The company offers training for those early in their military transition back to civilian life, special programs and opportunities specifically for veterans, and connects service members and their families with jobs at Cisco and Cisco partners.

With a return to civilian life comes new opportunities just for you

These are just a handful of opportunities you can pursue as you return to civilian life. There are entire resources available just to help veterans find new careers as they transition back home. Some employers are better suited than others for service members, and many are actively looking for new employees with military experience.

If you’re in the armed forces and looking for work outside the military, why not give one of these opportunities a go? You may find it satisfying and rewarding.


First observed in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson as Hispanic Heritage Week and later broadened into 30 days and enacted into law by President Ronald Reagan Aug. 17, 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year. The month is a recognition and celebration of Hispanic people including those in the armed forces as well as first responders, as there are many unique and notable Hispanic service members, police, firefighters and paramedics all deserving of our honor. 

The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.The appearance of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Staff Sgt. Henry Meza: "He's going to be a soldier."

Staff Sgt. Henry Meza, a Honduran-born member of the Iowa National Guard, had the idea from a very young age that he was destined to serve. His grandmother used to say to friends and family, "He's going to be a soldier."

Growing up in his birthplace of Siguatepeque, Honduras, which had no electricity, Meza helped out with his family's coffee business by working on a farm. He regularly hauled 100-pound bags of coffee beans on his back at the age of 10. When he was 12, he immigrated to the U.S. to join his mother in New Jersey. Having been very active in school with track, wrestling and soccer, he earned a sports scholarship to Grand View University in Iowa. In 2012, he enrolled in the Iowa National Guard.

Meza found a special place in the National Guard's Service to Citizenship program, which helps relatives of young adults in the Guard become U.S. citizens. Meza, who gained citizenship in 2013, is well aware of how arduous the process can be without assistance from initiatives like these. Speaking of the program, he says diversity makes the National Guard more capable by connecting the military branch to different cultures and walks of life. When those people see others who share the same culture, they're more inclined to join the Guard, he says.

Sergeant Diana Munoz: The first Hispanic police sergeant in Greenville, S.C.

Diana Munoz knows that when first responders answer a call from a Hispanic family, they might be wary of trusting them. But when Munoz, who was born in Colombia, South America shows up, they're immediately put at ease. 

A historic figure in Greenville, S.C., Munoz was the first Hispanic police sergeant to serve in the town's police department. As a supervisor, she's responsible for officers both in the Law Enforcement Center and when they're outside and on-duty.

Munoz hopes to one day be a police captain, though she acknowledges that she has a lot of work to do to reach that goal.

Joining Forces With the First Fully Spanish SNCO Course

New Mexico Air National Guard Master Sgt. Diana Melero-Sena participated in the first International Senior Noncommissioned Officer Course hosted completely in Spanish at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, between Oct. 4 and Dec. 8, 2021. Taught in the course were core leadership principles, ways to unite different forces and best practices meant to inspire the formation of strong professional relationships. Melero-Sena was one of two Citizen-Airmen who enrolled. The proud daughter of Mexican immigrants, she said that when she heard the Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA) was hosting a fully Spanish SNCO course, she knew she had to attend.

As the National Guard knows, with diversity comes strength. People of different cultures feel they have a place in the Guard because they see others sharing their culture within it. With the theme of 2022's Hispanic Heritage Month being "Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation," the period reminds us that Hispanic Americans and everything they bring from their different cultures stand out as invaluable and integral parts of American society.


The past two years have taken its toll on the American people, but the Armed Forces have also devoted considerable time and energy to protecting communities from the effects of COVID-19. This is especially true for the National Guard, who were sent into action to support healthcare workers across the country. The National Guard provided homeland support by working in hospitals, prisons, nursing homes and testing centers. However, there are some states that are rolling back their support and returning to their regular duties. Let's take a brief look at what is happening and the implications for both active duty and civilians. 

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Where are COVID-19 official missions ending?

In late March 2022, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued guidance on the reentry of Department of Defense (DoD) employees to their normal workplaces, which included the National Guard protocol. This was due to the declining impact of the COVID-19 in some areas. From here, states have made their own judgments based on local situations and requirements about whether to end or slow down their pandemic-related support.

Here are some of the states that have ended their COVID-19 pandemic missions:


According to Fox 13 News, "the Utah National Guard's COVID-19 Joint Task Force announced they will "relinquish its support" after supporting the state for two years in fighting the coronavirus." The news outlet reports that this was decided on because case counts are decreasing at a steady rate.


The Pennsylvania National Guard ended its COVID-19 response mission in late March as well. According to Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler, Pennsylvania adjutant general, "Over the past two years, Pennsylvania National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have risen to the challenge and demonstrated an unwavering dedication to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am truly proud of their dedicated service and sacrifice during this unprecedented time." He notes that they are ready to take action if needed in the future.


The Connecticut National Guard officially ended its COVID-19 response mission when the Guard gave up the keys to the state commodities warehouse in New Britain to the Connecticut Department of Health in March 2022. During the two years of pandemic support, they performed more than 1,000 missions all while helping with Hurricane Isaias clean-up and attending to regular duties.


News source KUNR reported that Nevada's COVID-19 mission was the "longest activation since World War II," and was set to end that month. Much like the rest of the nation's National Guard, the Nevada Guard not only provided intense support during the pandemic but also responded to more than 70 other missions during the two-year period.


In March, the Hawaii National Guard Joint Task Force returned the obligation of COVID-19 support to the state. This includes vaccinations, tests, mapping, temperature control and other responsibilities. On March 14, 2022, Mayor Michael Victorino proclaimed the day National Guard Appreciation Day in Maui County. The day is to commemorate the National Guard's servicemember's support of the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More states are likely to follow suit as the pandemic continues to fluctuate. It is important to note that there are ongoing efforts in all 50 states and territories to end the effects of the virus, but now they are out of the National Guard's jurisdiction. Servicemembers and their families are able to breathe easier knowing they are no longer entering unknown scenarios on a daily basis and can return to regular activities supporting their community needs. 


Every year on December 13, America celebrates the National Guard's birthday. This year marks the 385th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. National Guard, making the branch quite a bit older than the nation itself. (To learn more about the history of this branch of the military, check out this blog that goes into the details.)

In honor of the National Guard's birthday, we are diving into some of the most interesting things that the Guard does. Some of these may surprise you, but its motto, "Always Ready, Always There!" could not be more true.

1. There are 150 types of jobs available in the National Guard

Between the infantry, air defense, medical and military police, there are plenty of career fields to choose from. No matter someone's talents, interests and skills, there is likely to be an opportunity in the National Guard for them. In order for the Guard to operate and be prepared to fulfill its many duties, its members must be multi-faceted.Here are just a few of the fields available to work in through the National Guard:

  • Intelligence
  • Medicine
  • Heavy weapons
  • Cyber
  • Ground forces
  • Supply and logistics

To learn more about all the possible jobs and the different ways that the National Guard operates, check out

2. The National Guard is at work in its community

One of the National Guard's main goals is to maintain a peaceful home front, and this means that community outreach is a big part of the Guard. According to its website, those who are in the National Guard work "closely with the local, regional and national communities to link their services to the services already available to the Guard."

A great example of this can be seen in how members of the Guard have been working to fill in gaps and help where they can during the COVID-19 pandemic. During a time when first responders, nurses and other essential workers were feeling overwhelmed with their duties, the National Guard stepped in to offer relief. From natural disaster assistance to everyday community outreach programs, the Guard enriches every community it is in across America.

December 13 is recognized as the birthday of the U.S. National GuardDecember 13 is recognized as the birthday of the U.S. National Guard

3. The National Guard is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution

Ever since the first version of the Guard in 1636, which consisted of a militia of the English colonists in North America, it has been operating with honor and bravery. The Constitution proclaims that the National Guard is "to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasion" (Article I, Section 8, Clause 15').

4. Every state has its own Guard

It is commonly known that every state has its own National Guard, but even U.S. territories have their own Guard. The nation's capital, Washington D.C., has its own Guard as well, in order to carry out necessary duties.

The National Guard is one of the most flexible branches of the military because it has both federal and state responsibilities. On December 13, take the time to thank a Guard member or learn more about the force. From the air to the land, the National Guard can be found everywhere responding to threats and humanitarian disasters at home and abroad.


Throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Guard has answered the call to support our country during a national emergency. Most recently, governors across the U.S. called for the guard to come to the aid of hospitals that are overloaded with patients. From assisting with COVID-19 testing to supporting the vaccination process, the health care system in America can use all the help it can get.

As with most national crises, the National Guard offers aid in the most dire of situations, and this is no exception. Here is a shortlist of where the guard has taken some of the weight off the overwhelmed health care workers.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.


According to CNN, Gov. Andy Beshear said at a recent news conference that about 25 of Kentucky's regional hospitals were not only "at a critical staffing shortage stage", but were seeing an influx in patients. In response, the National Guard, consisting of five National Guard teams, were deployed starting on Sept. 1. In all, about one-third of the state's ICU beds are currently occupied by people who are suffering serious symptoms related to COVID-19, according to HHS Protect Public Data Hub.

In Kentucky, the guard members are preparing for their new role in hospitals by learning how to correctly wear personal protective equipment in order to shield themselves from becoming infected in the line of duty, according to Lexington news source the Herald Leader.

At The Medical Center at Bowling Green, guardsmen allowed hospital employees to be reallocated or afforded a much needed break. "In food services, the Soldiers and staff seemed like they have worked together for years," said Joseph Knight, food services manager at The Medical Center. "The teamwork between them has been incredible to watch," he added.


Oregon has seen increasing numbers of patients who require specialized medical attention, and, similar to many other states, faces staffing shortages. Gov. Kate Brown deployed 1,500 National Guard members to help health care providers with testing, vaccinations and other hospital operations, like admitting patients and cleaning rooms. 

With only 7% of ICU beds available statewide, Oregon is not only having trouble keeping hospitals staffed, but quickly running out of room. This means that, sometimes, hospitals have to put two patients in one ICU room. The National Guard's aid is absolutely necessary in these hospitals that are over capacity.


While Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has previously deployed 105 National Guard soldiers as part of a COVID response team; he called for an additional 85 soldiers to aid healthcare workers in the state. Kemp made it clear that there is room for 2,500 more to be deployed if the need arises.

The Georgia health care system is buckling under the weight of not having enough staff combined with over half the ICU beds that are taken by COVID-19 patients, the National Guard's help is greatly appreciated. National Guard 2nd Lt. Noah Wilson told local news station News 4 JAX that the response team has eight medics who are trained medics and that they will be able to assist nurses directly. 


The Illinois National Guard has joined forces with a Polish medical team to fight COVID-19 in Chicago. The teams work together in critical care units and other spaces that have been converted into makeshift hospitals, similar to how McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago once was.

The National Guard's motto of "always ready, always there" has continued to be proven true, especially during these times of desperation and crisis.


Last year has aptly been called "the year of the guard" because of the United States' unparalleled need for the National Guard's resources. On June 9, the National Guard made its annual posture statement public. The document goes over the Guard's operational standings and its missions during the previous year. This is a statement that is released annually, but this year was unique in that 2020 was particularly busy for the National Guard.

As stated in the document, "On June 6, 120,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were mobilized in support of overseas and domestic missions, one of the highest levels of National Guard support to our nation since World War II." Let's break down the posture statement and go over some of the most important points.


According to the posture statement, warfight is a premier mission of the National Guard. As such, preparation is key. Winning wars is a driving force behind many of the Guard's goals, including training, equipment attainment, maintenance, and recruitment. National threat levels impact how the Guard conducts business, and the current state of affairs demands a high level of preparedness.

According to the statement, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea have increased the global threat level. In turn, the Guard has had to expand its investment in training, which has paid off.  Along this theme, the Guard offers vital support to the Space Force.

Addressing the changing warfight environment, the Guard says it is the main combat reserve for both the Army and the Air Force. However, it is prepared to deploy more guardsmen than ever before due to their dynamic employment and global operations strategies. This includes:

  • Predictable mobilization requirements.
  • Geographic agility.
  • Maximize the Department of Defense's (DoD) flexibility.
  • Modernization.
  • Sustainability
  • Interoperability.


Because the National Guard is active on both a federal and state level, they are able to have a positive impact on the homeland during domestic emergencies. The National Guard's posture statement states that, while the ultimate goal is for threats to remain outside of America's borders, this might not be realistic due to cyberattacks and new-age weapons.

In 2020, teams have responded to the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic. The document reports that National Guard members logged about 10.9 million days in service of impacted communities in 2020. This was four times as many as were logged in 2019. Aside from this, the National Guard was called upon to assist in fighting the record number of wildfires in California.

The National Guard has also partnered with corporations and international organizations to provide maximum protection and to support beneficial alliances. One of its crown jewels is its State Partnership Program, which is "the DoD's premier security cooperation initiatives." Through this program, 84 countries have been able to form partnerships with the National Guard, helping promote and assist in providing communities with the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Guard's three priorities

According to the posture statement, the National Guard has three core priorities that it is currently striving to execute for the future of the organization.

  1. Fighting America's wars.
  2. Securing the homeland.
  3. Building enduring partnerships.

"Continued investment in the National Guard ensures we can meet today's demands while preserving the capability, capacity and deterrence our nation needs against a broad spectrum of potential future threats," said Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

From natural disasters to pandemics and international security threats, the National Guard's preparedness and resource management has never been more valuable. While 2020 was the Year of the Guard, the posture statement emphasized a continued reliance on the Guard as it moves into the future of national security.


Each year in April, families, communities and people of all stripes come together to celebrate military children and applaud them for surmounting unique challenges.

The Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) commemorates this month with its "Purple Up!" campaign, in which people wear and display the color purple to show support for the children of soldiers. The military chose this color with the reasoning that purple combines each branch's colors into one, since the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard all use shades of blue, the Army uses green and the Marines use red. 

Month of the Military Child: A backstory

Established by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in 1986, the Month of the Military Child has since become an annual tradition for military families deployed worldwide. More than 1.7 million total force-dependent children across the globe face obstacles unlike most others their age. Wearing purple helps let them know you care.

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.""The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

While the entire month of April is set aside to celebrate children of soldiers, the military also designates a single day during the month as "Purple Up! For Military Kids" Day. This typically falls halfway through the month, at or around April 15 each year. 

Many military-related private organizations put a special emphasis on the programs they administer and provide downloadable toolkits and other resources for military children and families.

Additionally, participating Exchange restaurants worldwide will often offer free treats or other specials for any child who wears purple during the month.

How you can Purple Up! this April

Although schools and workplaces are not closed for Purple Up! Day, there are still plenty of creative ways to observe this important occasion. Many military bases and communities celebrate with special events, such as contests, parades, fairs and seminars all centered around the central message of supporting military children.

In addition to wearing purple throughout the month, anyone not currently stationed at a military base can consider trying some of these activities to observe the Month of the Military Child:

  • Work with local schools, governments, businesses and organizations to raise awareness of this observance.
  • Spread the word by using the #purpleup hashtag on social media or putting up purple flyers in community centers.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper that recognizes and celebrates military children.
  • Create an award, or use one created by Blue Star Families, to let a military child know that they're awesome.
  • Print out and pass around Purple Up! labels from the Military Child Education Coalition.

If you're already involved with the local schools and organizations, consider holding an award ceremony for military children. Be sure to include recognition of military children during morning announcements and have members or students tie purple ribbons around trees outside.

For more ways to celebrate our country's youngest heroes, check out these 50 additional ideas from the Military Child Education Coalition.


After a long year of uncertainty, many Americans are seeking a means to get the COVID-19 vaccination. Meeting this demand will require a momentous effort, involving a diverse range of contributors from the health care industry and beyond.

Following a request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) stepped in to join the fight against COVID-19. Now, the Army and National Guard are both playing a vital part in vaccine distribution.

Members of the armed forces make for ideal candidates to help in this crucially important process. Active-duty servicemembers can efficiently organize and quickly mobilize to areas in need. Plus, the many specialized skill sets found among soldiers are extremely useful for managing a complex and multi-faceted mission like mass vaccine distribution.

Servicemembers' role to date

The National Guard has already activated more than 20,000 servicemembers and military medical personnel to assist with COVID-19 response, reported Some of the jobs active-duty forces are performing include administering vaccines, issuing health assessments and guiding the public through the vaccination process.

In many instances, a dual-status commander is involved to coordinate and oversee emergency response missions. This allows different military components, such as the Army and National Guard, to establish a single chain of command. The dual-status commander can then provide direction and facilitate communications among all involved servicemembers, as well as federal, state and local government agency personnel. 

Where are servicemembers helping out?

All across the country and U.S. territories, active-duty servicemembers are doing their part to help with vaccine distribution.

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.""The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."

The Army sent 200 soldiers from the storied 101st Airborne Division to the United Center in Chicago, Illinois to help with vaccine distribution as part of the DoD's COVID-19 response operation. These soldiers are assigned to the 426th Brigade Support Batallion's 1st Brigade Combat Team.

"The 101st has a long history of answering our nation's call, which at times has been to support civil authority here within the U.S.," explained Lt. Col. Derek Di Bello, the battalion commander. "It is a mission we will take on with the same focus and energy that we would any task given to us."

In Pueblo, Colorado, approximately 140 soldiers with the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, are supporting civilian partners at the state-run, federally supported COVID-19 Community Vaccination Center.

Around 170 military personnel from the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina are working with the federally run vaccination center in Memphis, Tennessee.

At the mass vaccination site located at New York City's Jacob Javits Convention Center, more than 350 New York National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, along with members of the New York Guard State Defense Force and New York Naval Militia, are working in partnership with the state's Department of Health.

These are just some of the examples of how the steadfast assistance of servicemembers has contributed greatly to delivering more than 100 million vaccinations already. While there's still have plenty of hard work ahead, if anyone is up for the job, it's our brave servicemen and women.