October 26 marks the unofficial holiday the Day of the Deployed. It is a day of honor and celebration for our deployed troops and their families as a way of acknowledging their bravery and the sacrifice they’re making for our country. No time off work is given as it isn’t an official federal holiday, but supporters of the military are encouraged to get involved: they send care packages, write letters and messages of support, and participate in morale-boosting activities designed to help those deployed overseas and their loved ones.
The Birth Of A Holiday
The U.S. government has enacted 10 official federal holidays, two of which are dedicated to the men and women who have fought to defend our freedom: Veteran’s Day, which supports the champions and survivors, and Memorial Day, which remembers those who never came home. Turning an idea for a holiday into a successfully declared day requires legal documentation — even National Ice Cream Day (the 3rd Sunday in July) needed one of this nation’s roughly 1.3 million lawyers to get it signed into public law.
Day of the Deployed, though not as tasty as National Ice Cream Day, had to experience the same form of litigation: somebody had to have the idea of dedicating a single day of the year to those living and risking their lives an entire ocean away from home, and then get it passed into law. In 2006, Shelle Michaels Aberle got the ball rolling; she spoke to North Dakota Governor John Hoeven about the idea, and it spread like wildfire.
The date was chosen after Aberle’s cousin, LTC David Hosna, who at the time was deployed to Iraq — October 26 is his birthday. The very first Day Of The Deployed event was held in Grand Forks, North Dakota, in honor of those currently serving in Afghanistan. Though it was just a state holiday at the time, Day of the Deployed was adopted by most states within four years.
Making It Official
As the years passed, Governor John Hoeven moved on to a career as a North Dakota State Senator. In 2011, he led the effort to push for official recognition of the holiday; on October 18, a mere eight days ahead of the Day of the Deployed, his resolution passed unanimously. Now, all 50 states recognize the important date in some fashion.
Getting a holiday passed by the U.S. government is no small feat. The nation as a whole must acknowledge the need and benefit of the day; the soldiers who spend months or years away from their families truly deserve a day all their own.