Thank You is Sometimes Overwhelming
San Diego, California
BSF Chapter Director for the Southern California region
(from left) Charlie Roth-Douquet, Theo January, Mitchell January, and Ethan January visit the San Diego Museum of Art after the May 24 announcement of the Blue Star Museums program. Photo by Sandy Huffaker
On Monday I had the opportunity to attend the launch of Blue Star Museums, a program giving free admission to participating museums for military families. The program is a partnership between Blue Star Families (BSF), the National Endowment for the Arts, and more than 650 museums.
The launch was a super, fantastic, awesome day...but I think the word that best describes yesterday's press conference to announce the launch of Blue Star Museums is perfect! The weather was sunny and warm (after a weekend of chilly, windy weather). The energy of the crowd was high! It was great to see the mix of military families, Blue Star reps, National Endowment for the Arts people, and museum reps mingling together and brainstorming ways for military families to get connected to various art programs. This is such a great gift---free access to more than 650 musueums!
After the launch, while I took care of some business for BSF, my husband and children visited the San Diego Museum of Art. They were very impressed with the "personal tour" they received from the museum guide. Everyone was talking about how fun it was going to be this summer to visit the various museums. I know our family can't wait to start visiting the local museums. I think we are going to hit the California Surf Museum first!
I've been thinking about what Blue Star Museums will mean for military families. This gift is so incredible, it is really hard to put into words. First of all---financially--- it is HUGE! Second, it is really going to enrich our minds and souls---kids and adults! With money so tight, usually museums do not make the cut when deciding what to spend some extra money on. The Blue Star Museums program will encourage families to give museums a try.
What is also touching is the fact that these museums recognize, acknowledge, and appreciate OUR sacrifices, not just our service members' sacrifices, but the sacrifices our entire family makes. That is what I was surprised by over and over again at the launch. As I met different museum representatives at the launch, and thanked them for this generous gift, they turned to me and said 'No, thank you' for what your family does. And this did not happen only once. It happened EVERY TIME. At the end of the day---we were just so completely overwhelmed by it all.
This summer in Southern California, we're in the midst of planning Blue Star Museums outings. We'll gather a group of military families, go to a participating museum, and have a picnic lunch. If you'd like to get involved, or you'd like to try something similar in your area of the country, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer January has been married to her husband Jan for 17 years. He is a Marine currently stationed at MCAS Miramar. They have three boys, ages 15, 13 and, 6.