Minnesota celebrates ‘Month of the Military Child’ 

To celebrate the Month of the Military Child, observed annually across the United States Department of Defense in April, the Minnesota National Guard Child & Youth Program will host Purple Up at the Mall of America from noon to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 19, 2024.  

The event is designed to recognize the commitment, contributions, and sacrifices military-connected youth make for the nation. Purple is the official color of the military child. It combines all the colors of the U.S. Armed Forces – Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard blues, Army green, and Marine Corps red.

“This is an exciting way to recognize and celebrate our military children,” said Laura Groeneweg, Child & Youth Program lead coordinator .“They share the burden of service when their loved ones must be away from home for long periods of time, miss important events in their lives to perform their military duty, or when frequent moves uproot them from something familiar, and they must adjust to new and different experiences. Being able to spend time together and enjoy an event like this is priceless for our military families.” 

At the annual open house-style event, military-connected youth and their families can enjoy music, face painting, character appearances, giveaways, treats, rides at Nickelodeon Universe provided by the Mall of America, a Build-A-Bear experience provided by USAA and the Minnesota National Guard Association, and more.  

Josiah Moss, 13, is a military teen who appreciates the annual celebration.  

“Month of the Military Child is a chance for kids with a military parent to be recognized.  It’s not even the stuff that you guys do, like Purple Up; it’s just nice to be recognized.” Moss said.  

Moss, the son of Army Capt. Andrew Moss, of the 1347th Division Sustainment Support Battalion, said he is fortunate his dad has not been away from home as much as other military children’s parents. But he said the best part of being a military child is, “I can be proud of what my dad does.” 

Moss has attended the Purple Up event six times. This year, he will assist his aunt, Joy Luedeman, Minnesota National Guard Child & Youth Program coordinator, at the event. He said he looks forward to, “having fun, helping, the free stuff, the activities, and the Nickelodeon wristband.” 

Besides the Purple Up event, the Minnesota National Guard Child & Youth Program will host tits annual art and photo contests. Military families can also request a letter from Governor Tim Walz thanking military youth at MinnesotaVeteran.org/militarychild. More than 16,000 children in Minnesota have at least one parent serving in the military. 

By: Cristina Oxtra 
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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