As a day of remembrance for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation, Memorial Day comes once a year. But for many families and many spouses, the observance of the sacrifice made by their loved ones is a daily one. These people made the ultimate sacrifice of sending their loved ones off to war, never to return to them.
The death of a spouse can be a profound and powerful loss that many widows and widowers describe as losing ‘half’ of themselves. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, more than 3,000 military spouses have been widowed during the global war on terror. Military survivors often find that in addition to their sudden loss, they are faced with a sudden change of residence, separation from the network of support they have come to expect, and even survivor’s guilt. It’s my honor this month to recognize the work of two nonprofit organizations actively supporting our military widows.
For more than four decades, the Society of Military Widows has helped countless women whose husbands died while on active military duty, of a service-connected illness, or during disability or regular retirement from the armed forces. The organization not only continues to provide moral support and assistance to military widows to rebuild their lives, they also focus is on legislative issues regarding benefits and entitlements of military widows, as well as work to increase public awareness of the problems and needs of widows of members of all U.S. uniformed services.
Founded in 2007, the American Widow Project’s core focus is to provide peer-to-peer support and resources through means readily accessible anywhere, anytime to women who have lost a husband or fiancé in service — whether to an accident or illness or in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. This nationally recognized non-profit organization has already made a difference in the lives of countless survivors who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter.
Mahalo to the Society of Military Widows and the American Widow Project for their compassion, service, and support for the survivors of our men and women in the armed forces who gave their lives in service to our great nation.