A salute to military brats: Youngsters in military families sacrifice, too

Mar 4 2013 - 9:54am

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Illustration by SIERRA LAWRENCE/Ogden High School/lawrence.sierra16@gmail.com
Illustration by SIERRA LAWRENCE/Ogden High School/lawrence.sierra16@gmail.com

In this, the land of the free and the home of the brave, we have always been told to respect the men and women in uniform, who risk their lives every day to preserve the freedom of our country.

And why wouldn't we be taught that? They are magnificent heroes.

But have we ever stopped to think about the children of these men and women? They deserve as much respect as their parents. A military family lifestyle is in no way easy, with all of the moving, and waiting those long months and days hoping that Moms and Dads are safe.

TX. asked some students from military families to share some of their experiences.

"Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!"

Tori Sams, a student at Ogden High whose father served in the U.S. Air Force in active duty, shared how her family had lived in South Carolina, Virginia twice, and Utah.

"Having to move and leave all of my friends was pretty hard," Sams said.

But there are really good parts about being a military brat as well.

Savannah Rice, a sophomore at Weber High and a TX. staff member, said, "I hate having to leave, but I really love to travel all over the world and experience different cultures. It really opens your eyes to everything else going on, not just in the U.S."

Rice has lived in Virginia, Washington, North Carolina, England and Florida. Her mother was in the Canadian military before Rice was born and her father was in the U.S. Marines until Rice was 13 years old.

The sophomore said in an email that her favorite place to live was Hawaii "because of the beaches, my friends, and really, it's paradise!"

"Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh!"

Along with the benefits of seeing the world, as Rice pointed out, there are also lots of benefits of living on base while parents of military brats are on duty. On base there are many great pluses such as free housing, federally funded private schools and cheaper groceries and commodities.

Alex Poulos, a senior at Weber High, said that he has lived on two different bases while his father served in the Air Force.

"I lived at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and Lakenheath in England," the senior said, adding that he really enjoyed living there because of all of the benefits available.

"You will always know that the Army goes rolling along."

Having family members gone for many months is a sad yet normal part of being in a military family.

"I just remember important days that I had in my life when my dad wasn't there to celebrate with me, and having to call him on the phone and not see his face," said Lauryn Mitchell, a sophomore at Clearfield High. "It was difficult to not be with him."

This is the sacrifice that all children of military parents experience, which is the biggest reason they deserve our whole-hearted respect. Most teens do not understand what it's like having their parents gone in this way, but military brats do.

"We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine!"

Many of the kids whose parents serve in the military think about joining the armed forces because of the influence of their parents.

"When I was little, I wanted to be just like my dad and fly jets," Sams said.

Mitchell also added, "I've always thought it would be cool to be in the Air Force. Even just to be an Army wife, somebody who supports the armed forces."

"To fight to save or fight and die, Aye! Coast Guard, we are for you."

Although neither of my parents serve in the armed forces, my grandfather did. He served during the last of the Korean War and through the Vietnam War. My mother has told me many of her experiences with a father in the military and it's given me a respect for military brats, who bring patriotism into the hallways of our schools.

May we always respect our nation's veterans and their amazing children as well.

Krystal Ruiz is a sophomore at Weber High School. Contact her at kruiz.melody@gmail.com.

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