According to nationaltoday.com, April was established as the Month of the Military Child by Caspar Weinberger when he was the Defense Secretary for the United States. It is a month to honor and recognize the sacrifices that are made by the families of our servicemen and women, but especially the sacrifices made by their children. The Soldiers Project estimates that a typical military family moves every two to three years. That means that a military child might be attending at least 6 different schools between kindergarten and high school graduation.
According to Military Benefits, there are currently 1.2 million children of active-duty members of the armed forces. There is not enough housing on base for all the families, so some will live off base. It is estimated that 80 percent of the children attend public schools. With the constant moves, a military child needs to be resilient.
Sometimes families will accompany the serviceman or woman when they are assigned oversees. The child will be able to experience the culture of a foreign country and they won’t be separated from a parent for an extended period of time. This was not an option for over 2 million children who had parents serving in war zones during the past twenty years. It is also not an option for the troops that have been deployed to Europe during the current Ukrainian crisis. During the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts deployment times varied but, in some cases, Service personnel were away from the children and their spouses for over a year. It is not easy on a child when a parent misses so many family events and holidays.
We have all heard of the term “military brat.” I have read that the term originated in Britain. When a member of the British Regiment was being moved to a different location then someone had to work out the logistics of moving the family. They would list a spouse or child as a British Regiment Attached Traveler (BRAT).
Many people, including John Denver, Shaquille O’Neal, Gore Vidal and Reese Witherspoon, are proud to say that they were military brats.