2017-04-21 / Front Page

Fort Gordon honors military children with ‘Purple Up’

BY LAURA LEVERING
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

Cedric Thomas, Richmond Academy’s drum major, helps keep the music going at Freedom Park School’s annual “Purple Up” celebration, marking the Month of the Military Child. PHOTO BY BILL BENGSTON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Cedric Thomas, Richmond Academy’s drum major, helps keep the music going at Freedom Park School’s annual “Purple Up” celebration, marking the Month of the Military Child. PHOTO BY BILL BENGSTON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE As much as service members sacrifice, the nation recognizes they are not the only ones who endure hardships associated with life in the military. Children of the Armed Forces also bear the weight of sacrifice.

In an effort to recognize them, Fort Gordon’s Freedom Park School hosted its annual Month of the Military Child Purple Up Day April 13 in the school’s gymnasium. The Academy of Richmond County High School Band and dance team entertained students with music and dance medleys throughout the hour-long program.

Kicking off the event, WFXG Fox 54 meteorologist and master of ceremonies, Jay Jefferies, greeted the students by exclaiming, “You are important! This is your day!”

Purple was the color du jour at Freedom Park School April 13, as the school held its annual “Purple Up” celebration, marking the Month of the Military Child. Dozens of visitors, including the marching band from Richmond Academy, provided music and food for thought about the unusual challenges that military kids and their families face. The purple theme is based on the concept of blending the main colors representing the various branches of the U.S. military. PHOTOS BY BILL BENGSTON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Purple was the color du jour at Freedom Park School April 13, as the school held its annual “Purple Up” celebration, marking the Month of the Military Child. Dozens of visitors, including the marching band from Richmond Academy, provided music and food for thought about the unusual challenges that military kids and their families face. The purple theme is based on the concept of blending the main colors representing the various branches of the U.S. military. PHOTOS BY BILL BENGSTON / FORT GORDON PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE Reiterating what Jefferies said, Dr. Titania Singh, Freedom Park principal, told students to enjoy the celebration because it was “all about them.”

April was designated as Month of the Military Child by then Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger in 1986. Purple is used to symbolize all branches of the military because it is a blend of each service branch’s colors: Army green, Air Force blue, Navy (blue), Marine red, and Coast Guard blue.


Freedom Park School students take in the “Purple Up” presentation April 13 in their gym. Freedom Park School students take in the “Purple Up” presentation April 13 in their gym. Month of the Military Child is intended to honor all military youth for the strength they give the military through commitment, contributions and sacrifice, said guest speaker Col. Todd Turner, Fort Gordon Garrison commander. It is also a time to highlight the Department of Defense’s commitment to build strong and resilient families, beginning with its children.

“The care of military children – as we invest in you – it sustains our fighting force, it strengthens our health, security, and the safety of our nation,” Turner said.

The Army’s theme for 2017 is “Military Kids: At Home Across the World.” It’s a theme that could not be more fitting, Turner said.

“You have learned from an early age that home is where your heart is, that a good friend can be found in every corner of the country or the world, and that education does not only come from school, but it comes from life experience,” Turner said.


Lt. Col. Todd Turner, Fort Gordon garrison commander, addresses a youthful audience April 13, as the featured speaker at Freedom Park School’s annual “Purple Up” celebration, in observance of the Month of the Military Child. Lt. Col. Todd Turner, Fort Gordon garrison commander, addresses a youthful audience April 13, as the featured speaker at Freedom Park School’s annual “Purple Up” celebration, in observance of the Month of the Military Child. He said Military children are a national treasure forced to endure challenges related to military life including family separation due to mission requirements, family reunification, reintegration, missed school days, and changing schools.

“Due to frequent moves, many children experience disrupted relationships with friends and must adapt to new schools and cultivate new community resources,” Turner said.

If anyone can relate, it’s Turner’s own son. Throughout Turner’s career, his son has lived in eight states and had to adapt with each move. Despite those challenges, military children are some of the healthiest and most resilient people. Turner described their resilience as remarkable, and expressed his gratitude.

Local TV meteorologist Jay Jefferies shares some thoughts and a laugh or two April 13 at Freedom Park School, as the master of ceremonies at the school’s annual “Purple Up” celebration, marking the Month of the Military Child. Local TV meteorologist Jay Jefferies shares some thoughts and a laugh or two April 13 at Freedom Park School, as the master of ceremonies at the school’s annual “Purple Up” celebration, marking the Month of the Military Child. “You turn these challenges into opportunities,” Turner said. “For your bravery, enthusiasm and pride, you are the true heroes. On behalf of all the men and women across this community, I say a most sincere thank you.”

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