The Term 'Military Brat' Is Completely Unfitting For Military Kids

The Term 'Military Brat' Is Completely Unfitting For Military Kids

Military kids have to say goodbye to more significant people by the age of 18 then the average person has to in their lifetime.

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First of all, if one more person tries to refer to me as an 'army brat', I might actually punch them in the face. I am the daughter of a United States Marine, and I have the utmost pride in being able to say that.

From a young age, we base kids learned what it meant to be a true American. Every white house lined up next to each other had an American flag hanging from the garage, accompanied with the second flag of an eagle globe and anchor swaying in the wind. Just about every other house had Toby Keith on repeat and about 10 different kinds of guns.

The noise of the never-ending artillery was not what woke us up, but instead, it was the sound of trumpets playing taps at 7:30 every morning. Everyone knew that after the last commercial was played at the base theater it was time to stand up, put our right hands over our hearts, and say the national anthem. So yeah, one could say us base families we were a pretty patriotic bunch.

At these red white and blue communities, our neighbors became family in a matter of a couple of weeks. We shared the same struggles and made sure we all had each other's backs.

We military kids relied on each other more then anyone will understand. I can remember when one of my friend's Dad did not make it home from deployment and just how much the neighborhood came together to support her family. The funny thing is that the initial thoughts that went through my head were never, "wow thank goodness this was not my Dad", but instead how I could comfort her, and what I could do to personally do to help the situation.

After putting some thought into it, I have tried to come up with the reasoning behind why we were pinned as 'brats'. I will confidently express that I have no shame in boasting about how wonderful and amazing my Dad is. Perhaps to a fault, and I know that may have come off as arrogant, but if your Dad was a real-life GI Joe wouldn't you want to show him off too?

I was at a bar last weekend and I was talking to a random marine and we sparked a conversation about my Dad. He knew who my Dad was and served under him during a deployment to Afghanistan. I asked him how my Dad was as a battalion commander and his response almost brought me to tears. He said that all of his marines would write my Dad's name on the bottom of their boots before they went into combat. He told me that my Dad exemplified a true hero and everything you should look up to in a leader.

I have no shame whatsoever when it comes to bragging about my Dad, and if hearing about my Dad's accomplishments bothers you- then do it, call me a brat.

Our father's profession is to protect and keep our country safe. The amount of pride we have for our country was not something that came with time, but instead, we were born with it. In my opinion, we military kids sacrificed more for our countries then most civilians will in their lifetime. Although we were not on the front lines fighting battles, we gave up our own Dad's who we loved more than anything to do so.

If we were ever upset that we had to hug our Dad goodbye and not see him for the next 7 months to a year, can you blame us? If we were frustrated that we had to up and move every two or three years after meeting amazing people, time after time, were we really in the wrong? We had every right to be upset about those things- anyone would be. My question is, why would that make us a so-called 'brat'?

I think we should be called military kid heroes. Not because of the fact that we were born into this crazy life of deployments, countless moves, and far too many goodbyes, but because we chose to embrace this life of adventure and constant unknowns. I would not change the way I grew up because it shaped me into the person I am today. I have the marine corps, and my Dad to thank for that. Semper fi!

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An Open Letter To Those Who Forget Those Who Fought For Us All

We would not have the freedom to create what we love without them.

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Without the bravery of millions of men and women throughout US history, many of us would not be sitting at our laptops reading or even creating free expressions of ourselves.

We might not be able to walk across campus without fear for our lives. Without the sacrifice of those who served, the great country we call home would not even be a reality. Whether we know them personally or not, the American people owe every ounce of freedom that we enjoy to the veterans who fought to preserve it.

For the soldiers who made it home again, the physical war was over, but the mental war was just beginning. And what makes it worse is that they cannot identify the enemy. There is no battle plan, no intended mission, and no officer leading them through the fray; they are alone, and cannot find the enemy to face in the shadows.

Veterans come home with so many different battle scars; some as obvious as a missing limb, and others so invisible that no one realizes that they are there until it is too late. Mental illness and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) plague returning soldiers and make it almost impossible for them to assimilate back into their own families, let alone society.

There is a toxic mentality that is all too popular in the military that tries to say that PTSD is for the weak and feeble-minded. Sometimes serving for years in foreign lands, some soldiers claim that any form of weakness gets you killed or captured on the battlefield. Coming home with this same mentality creates a toxic environment in which veterans refuse to seek help and the nightmares that they endured overseas haunt them until they cannot take it anymore.

There were soldiers that did not make it home at all, and some that were carried off planes in a box draped in the flag of their beloved country. Many of those who died did so to give their friends the chance to see the home and the families that they themselves would never lay eyes on again. They did not die just for their friends to come home to sleep on benches, having been kicked out of their houses or unable to hold a job. They did not die for their friends to come home only to put a needle to their arm, a bottle to their lips, or a pistol to their head.

Every day, 22 veterans and active-duty soldiers commit suicide. That means approximately every 65 minutes, a veteran has taken his or her life somewhere in the United States, the country that forgot them after they gave up so much for it. This statistic is inexcusable for our nation, and in other areas, the bar is just as low.

The vets with physical wounds alongside their mental ones who seek help must yet again face another battle; this time being with the healthcare system and all of its heavy expenses.

They usually get bags of over-prescribed drugs thrown at them as well as opioids rather than the physical and mental therapy that they need and deserve. The drugs turn the veterans into addicts, and as the pain continues to intensify on both the physical and mental fronts, they take more and more to numb the pain. This way, many reach overdose, and even death.

Mental illness, PTSD, lack of adequate treatment, and physical impairment all make it practically impossible for a soldier to get and keep a job, which could start a downward spiral into homelessness.

Despite the efforts that government organizations such as the Veterans Affairs have set in motion, the programs implemented have had minimal effect upon the crisis at hand. With a broken system and so many odds stacked against them, so many veterans have lost faith in the country that they fought so hard for, the same country that left them to their own nightmares in the alleyways and dark corners of cities. This is a humanitarian crisis that defines who we are as a nation.

I understand that many people may call a different crisis to mind that they think should take priority over getting these heroes off the streets. However, without all the sacrifices that the millions who served have made to protect America and everything it stands for, most other issues in this country would not even be plausible, let alone resolvable. This country is a beacon of hope to the world, and so many risks their own lives as well as their children's to come here. But without those who protected our liberty, there would be no liberty to flock to.

I want to imagine a United States that successfully integrates veterans back into society, that has the programs and the willpower to get them back on their feet and out of the shadows of the horrors they faced overseas.

But more than that, I want to imagine an American people that turn around to help pay the debt that those who fought for our freedom never asked us to repay. Because after all, freedom isn't free.

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37 War Movies You Should Watch This Memorial Day

War movies are a great way to relive history or celebrate our armed forces.

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I'm a war movie buff. I've seen most if not all the movies on this list ranging from old classics to modern box office hits. Some of these are hilarious and some are very serious and possibly disturbing. For this list, only true American Movies were picked because this Holiday is about remembering American Soldiers and Veterans.

1. Black Hawk Down

2. American Sniper

3. Kelly’s Heroes

4. Thin Red Line

5. Lone Survivor 

6. Fury

7. Casualties of War

8. Courage Under Fire

9. Catch 22

10. The Longest Day

11. Born on the Fourth of July

12. Good Morning, Vietnam

13. Platoon

14. The Dirty Dozen

15. Twelve O’clock High

16. Saving Private Ryan

17. The Messenger

18. The Deer Hunter

19. Top Gun

20. Full Metal Jacket

21. Zero Dark Thirty

22. Saints and Soldiers

23. Thank You For Your Service

24. A Few Good Men

25. Hurt Locker

26. We Were Soldiers

27. Men Of Honor

28. Tora!Tora!Tora!

29. Heartbreak Ridge

30. Sand Castle

31. Apocalypse Now

32. Flags of Our Fathers

33. Pearl Harbor

34. Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Crees

35. JarHead

36. Taking Chance

37. Platoon

Bonus TV Miniseries 1. Band of Brothers

Bonus TV Miniseries 2. The Pacific

Bonus TV Miniseries 3. Generation Kill

Have a Happy Memorial Day with friends and family and eat a burger for me and enjoy the good times and reflect on why this holiday is and maybe enjoy a movie or two or a few.

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