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!