A Day for Celebrating Military Spouses

by Thea Pitzen

Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Many here in Virginia likely have some familiarity with this day (or have at least heard of it), since Virginia is home to the world’s largest naval base and not surprisingly has a significant active duty military and veteran population. Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a presidentially-approved holiday, traditionally celebrated on the Friday before Mother’s Day. This year, it falls on May 8, 2020.

As a law firm with 3 offices across the Commonwealth of Virginia (one of which shares its home with the world’s largest naval base – Naval Station Norfolk), Goodman Allen Donnelly proudly employs many veterans and military spouses—a quarter of our employees, in fact. I was honored when the firm asked me to write for our blog on this occasion. For me, this day is personal. I have been a military spouse for almost as long as I have been an attorney, and both roles are deeply meaningful to me.

Being a military spouse has presented some unique challenges professionally. It has meant taking three bar exams and being admitted in four jurisdictions in a span of less than ten years. It has meant finding jobs in locations where I did not grow up, go to law school, or have any connections. It has meant being flexible, resilient, and determined—by necessity—in both my professional and personal lives. And to be honest, I would not trade it. In addition to having met some of the finest individuals and closest friends we have known thanks to our military lifestyle, it brought us to Hampton Roads, which has truly become home over the last four years.

This year, Military Spouse Appreciation Day is going to look a little different. Our nation finds itself in the midst of an unprecedented public health crisis—the global COVID-19 pandemic. In light of circumstances, there will not be large public events on military installations. In many states, military families will not be able to go out to a restaurant or even gather with friends or extended family to celebrate. But that’s okay, because none of that is the real point of Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Moreover, there is probably no group of people more collectively accustomed to rapidly changing circumstances and things not going according to plan than military spouses! We are also accustomed to making—and proud to make—sacrifices in the name of the greater good of our country and communities. And it does not take a public gathering to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of military spouses in our community.

As I personally reflect on our world and community this year, I am prouder than ever of my husband’s military service, and I am equally grateful for the privilege of representing healthcare providers in my day to day law practice. Our clients are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, and as always, I continue to learn from them and appreciate the opportunity to serve them each day. This Military Spouse Appreciation Day looks different at Goodman Allen Donnelly, too. Many of the firm’s employees are working from home, while the firm remains open and with adequate staff on site to continue serving our clients full time during these challenging days.

On behalf of the firm, I extend a heartfelt thank you to the military spouses in our community—our colleagues, clients, family members, friends, and neighbors. Your contributions and sacrifices make our communities better, richer, and stronger. Today and every day, your roles in your family, our military community, and our local community are vital and deeply appreciated.

This blog is made available by Goodman Allen Donnelly for general information, and does not constitute legal advice. By reading this blog, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the firm. This blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.