Eielson celebrates Purple Up
U.S. Air Force Col. Larry Rice, 354th Mission Support Group commander, reads the Purple Up! proclamation during Purple Up! for military kids Day April 15, 2014, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The proclamation was written by Gov. Sean Parnell, placing emphasis on the special courage, strength and sacrifice of military children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)
Eielson celebrates Purple Up Day

by Staff Sgt. Jim Araos
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

4/10/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska  -- April is the month of military child, when Alaskans come together to honor of the strength, sacrifices and continual resilience demonstrated by military children in support of their military family members.

As part of the observance, all Alaskans are encouraged to wear purple April 15 in celebration of this year's Purple Up Day.

The day will feature a Purple Up Day proclamation reading by Col. Larry Rice, 354th Mission Support Group commander, at the youth center 4:30 p.m. Additionally, the 4-H youth development organization is donating purple cupcakes to each military youth-oriented centers and purple shakes at the youth center.

The color purple is used to symbolize all branches, as it is a combination of Army green, Marine Corps red, and Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force blue.

"We're encouraging everyone to wear people," said Charlotte Lewis, Airman and Family Services flight chief. "We are trying to give as much focus on that day to recognize the youth."

Regardless of age, deployed family members and constant moving can take a toll on military children. Purple Up Day brings national attention to military youth to provide more support and understanding.

Teachers and community members are increasing the spread of awareness of the significant impact the military lifestyle has on children. With a better understanding of those hardships, community members can provide children more resources to help cope.

"We also appreciate the special courage, strength, and sacrifice of the children and families of members of the military who provide support, endure long periods of separation and move residences frequently," said Gov. Parnell.

The Purple Up Day program originated from the U.S. Army's Military Kids collaborative effort with America's communities to support children and youth impacted by deployment.

"If we have three or four people who realize just how hard military life can be on children, then I think it would be a success" said Lewis.

For more information on Purple Up programs, visit www.alaska4h.org.