• Are you a military child? Click over for information on how YOU can submit your story!
I am the proud 18-year-old son of a father who has served in the U.S. Army for 21 years, having fought in both the Persian Gulf War and the Global War on terrorism.
You can say my childhood was different than others; we moved almost every other year. My two sisters and I had to learn to adjust to new environments fast, and be ready to leave our home whenever Uncle Sam needed us to. If you total the time that my father has been gone on deployment throughout my childhood, it adds up to about a quarter of my life.
He was gone for many birthdays, Thanksgivings, Christmases, awards ceremonies, and special times. I remember a time during my father's first deployment, after the attacks of 9/11, when my older sister made homecoming court. At the game's half-time, the fathers of the girls would escort them, as they were introduced to the student body. Of course our father was away, fighting terrorism on the other side of the globe, so I escorted my sister. But, you never heard us complain. We knew where our father was, what he was doing, and what he was fighting for.
My experiences as a military child made my sisters and I stronger. I like to think I grew up just another all-American child, in an all-American family, with maybe an above average appreciation for our great country and the men and women that protect it.
My father taught me that freedom isn't free — that to be born free is an accident, to live free is a privilege, and to die free is a responsibility. I am in the Army ROTC and recently joined the Virginia Army National Guard. I leave for Basic Combat Training and Infantry school in Ft. Benning on April 30. I had the honor of having my father swear me into the Army. The photo included in this blog is of the proudest moment in my life, when my father (CW2 Harrison) administered the oath of enlistment.
My father is my hero and I hope that someday I will be as good of a father and soldier as he is.
A military poem I always liked:
I am a Military Brat.
My hometown is nowhere, my friends are everywhere.
I grew up with the knowledge that home is where the heart is and the family...
Mobility is my way of life.
Some would wonder about roots, yet they are as deep and strong as the mighty oak.
I sink them quickly, absorbing all an area offers and hopefully, giving enrichment in return.
Travel has taught me to be open.
Shaking hands with the universe, I find brotherhood in all men.
Farewells are never easy.
Yet, even in sorrow comes strength and ability to face tomorrow with anticipation.
If when we leave one place, I feel that half my world is left behind...I also know that the other half
is waiting to be met.
Friendships are formed in hours and kept for decades.
I will never grow up with someone, but I will mature with many.
Be it inevitable that paths part, there is constant hope that they will meet again.
Love of country, respect and pride fill my being when Old Glory passes in review.
When I stand to honor that flag, so also do I stand in honor of all soldiers, and most especially, to the parents whose life created mine.
Because of this, I have shared in the rich heritage of Military life.
• Are you a military child? Click over for some tips on facing deployment.