How much longer? I couldn’t stop tapping my feet. We’ve been waiting here for hours. I turned to look at my mom and brother. My mom couldn’t help smiling and tapping her feet. My brother kept checking his watch. “Its 5 am already, Mommy. We’ve been here for three hours. How much longer,” he whined. I popped a skittles into my mouth and said, “Yeah, I don’t think I can wait much longer.” Suddenly, the large door towards the front of the room mas a loud, mechanical noise and started to rise very slowly. My family and I and everyone around me grabbed, “Welcome Home,” signs and raced to the yellow line. Everyone was quiet until we heard footsteps. Footsteps marching to a beat. Everyone around me was cheering and jumping and waving arms around. When all the marching men were all in the building, everyone became very quiet because we were all waiting for one order. One order that everyone had been waiting for since two in the morning. “Find your family,” the man shouted. That’s when the real frenzy started. I broke away from my mom and brother and started searching. Looking for one man. My Daddy. Then I saw him. “Daddy,” I screamed. I ran to him and jumped into his arms. I started laughing and crying at the same time. I was so happy because he had been deployed for a year and now he was home. With me.
Have you ever experienced such a strong adrenaline rush when your parents come home after being deployed for a long time? That’s how military brats feel when their parents come home after being deployed for 9-12 months. “It’s the best feeling ever. It’s like getting a puppy for Christmas,” said Brandon Wilson, a senior at Shaw High School that has been a military child since elementary. Military children are very special because they experience growing up in patriotic families that teach them how to learn, interact, engage, and adapt to new cultures, different people, and difficult situations.
Military children, also known as military brats, are very unique because once a child has been through enough deployments and moves, they’ve had the opportunity to see many new places and interact with tons of new faces. One junior that attends Shaw High School, Ty’Kia Harris has been a military brat for 16 years. Harris moved all the way to Columbus, Georgia from Fairbanks, Alaska. “In Alaska, I got to learn about native tribes, like the Athabaskans, and how they lived in the past and present,” said Harris. Also, a senior at Shaw High, Brandon Wilson, moved to Georgia from Wahiawa, Hawaii. While in Hawaii, Brandon learned how to snorkel. Before Hawaii, he lived in Washington State. “My favorite thing about being a military child is being able to go to free indoor basketball gyms, but my least favorite thing about being a military child is having to move a lot because I have to leave my friends.” Moving a lot is both a negative and a positive side effect of being a military brat.
“I hate having to move all of the time because I’m military,” said Harris. Every time that a military family moves to a new base in another city, the military children have to start their social life all over again. They have to meet new people, make new friends, learn how to navigate new schools, cities and neighborhoods, and adapt to the new culture. I, myself, am a military child. I moved here from El Paso, Texas (which was basically Mexico since I could see across the border any time I drove to school or drove home). I had moved away from my three best friends and my boy best friend. I’m never going to be able to contact them again because I lost their information during the move. This happens frequently for military brats. It does stink, but, one benefit is that moving and having to make new friends a lot does make it to where military brats can improve their social skills.
Military children are very special because they give up their parents for the military, they make friends all over the world, and they can learn to adapt to almost any new culture and environment.