I am a brat.
Well, more like an Army brat but I am brat
just the same. This means I am a proud child of an Army veteran, my
Since 1986, April has been designated as the Month of
the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices
children make for their military parents.
Some of my earliest
memories involve hearing Soldiers call cadence as they ran behind
our house on post. In another memory, I remember my dad getting
ready to leave for training, dressed in his field uniform, making
the peace sign and walking out the door as I was having breakfast.
When I was younger, I never thought of how much it sucked to
give up time with my dad because he had a military commitment or
that he missed out on birthdays, holidays and memories.
was normal to me. I was used to it.
By the time I was five,
my dad left the service so my brothers and I could have a more
stable childhood while growing up near family.
understood what that decision meant until I joined the Air Force
eight years ago and had my three children.
Two of my children
were born while we were was stationed overseas. They only knew their
family through short video calls on Sundays, and they didn’t meet
them until after we got stateside orders.
Before my eldest
son was one, I deployed. It pained me to know that I was going to
miss his birthday and a lot of his “firsts” but he was so young, he
didn’t know the difference. At least, that’s what I told myself to
make it easier.
When I was pregnant with my third child, my
husband was deployed, and I was slotted for advance training back at
the school house. Therefore, my children were uprooted from their
lives for two months and moved to another state to live with their
grandparents so my husband and I could meet our military
commitments. They didn’t complain; in fact, they were jealous that
we flew on aircraft without them.
This year, my oldest
turned five and this time around, his dad was deployed. He didn’t
make a big deal that dad missed his birthday because he knew dad was
fixing airplanes and he would see him soon.
Every day, my
children unknowingly make sacrifices to support my military career.
Whether it’s the amount of time they spend with me or their personal
time, I am grateful to them.
I want to say thank you to not
only my children but all military children for their never ending
love and support for their service member, because I know without
it, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do daily.
children are the true unsung heroes.
By U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Rachel Waller
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