Things Military Brats Can Relate To

Since April is the month of the military child, I decided to dedicate this article to all the children who have followed their parents around the world, sacrificing so much. When I was growing up I never really had any articles or literature to relate to; it was in other military brats that I found comfort.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that even though times were really difficult, I learned so much from them. I wish that someone had told me this while I was moving around the country: these experiences are difficult, and you’re so much stronger because of this. You are not alone, and you may discover later on that they were some of the most rewarding years of your lives.

I was a military brat up until I became an adult, but it’s a part of me that will never go away. I’ve lived on military bases surrounded by other military brats, and there was no denying that we all had several things in common.

1. We freak out when someone asks where we’re from.

When it’s time for us to go around the classroom and say a little bit about ourselves and where we are from, we instantly become really nervous. It would take all of class period to tell people about all the places we’ve lived, and we’re secretly jealous of all the people who have stayed in one state or even city their whole life and grown up with their childhood friends.

2. We were either homeschooled at one point or went to so many different schools we lost count.

I would have attended many different schools while travelling across the country if I was not homeschooled for eleven years. Some of my friends went to different high schools for all four years. We all bond together over lack of a sound academic foundation. However, sometimes homeschooling provided that because that was one constant throughout all of the moves; it was just more difficult to make friends and meet people.

3. We have a mix of accents that are unique.

We don’t really have just one accent. We don’t put down roots long enough for us to pick up an entire accent. We confuse people all the time by using “pop” and “ya’ll” in the same sentence.

4. The panic when you lost your military ID.

I remember one summer I was walking back from the pool, and I realized once I got home that my  ID was missing. I received a lecture, and then we had to make a new appointment to get a new one. A few weeks after I got my new one, some lady found it and returned it to me. After that, I made sure that I always knew where it was. Getting an ID card for the first time was always special for us, and we knew we would be in big trouble if we lost it.

5. At 1700 you were looking for a flag to face.

Everyday at 5:00 P.M., we knew to stand with respect for the national anthem that played every weekday. We were supposed to face a flag during the song, so we would all have a discussion of what direction there was a flag in. However in a military neighborhood, they weren’t too difficult to find.

6. Doctors don’t wear white coats but instead wear combat boots and BDU’s.

When you went off base, you were shocked to see that doctors did wear white coats and not military uniforms. We all had Tricare, the military’s version of health care. We would always get sent to the base hospitals and depending on what branch you were in, you were most likely not getting the best care. For example, I once had a doctor that was Googling my symptoms when I was in the room.  

7. Your best friends live across the country or even overseas.

Military kids were always so open and accepting to everyone because we knew that we had a limited amount of time together before the next move, so we made bonds early on that civilian kids would take years to form. Those bonds carried over through states and countries. We learned how to do long distance way before we even started thinking about dating.

8. Ma’am or sir was a must.

You were taught to respect authority; sir and ma’am were a core part of your upbringing.

9. Each branch of the military was convinced they were the best.

My carpool to high school in the morning consisted of three Army brats, and me, the only Air Force one. I would have to come up with different statistics and reasons as to why Air Force was better, and that was how our car ride went almost every morning. There was no denying that there was a type of sibling rivalry among all of the branches. Football game days were the best, and everyone suddenly became really competitive. The “Go Army” flags come out and “Go Navy” was written in chalk on the sidewalks.

10. We wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Even though it’s really difficult on us, we are left with a unique experience that will stay with us forever, molding us into who we are today. We realize that we probably wouldn’t have seen these amazing places and met all these amazing people, even though we will eventually leave.  

 

HC,

Alyssa Harmon

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