Celebrating military children
By Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Kerstetter, 436th Maintenance Squadron
/ Published April 29, 2021
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
What is the origin of the Month of the Military Child? The Month of the Military Child is part of a legacy left by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. Since his establishment of the Month of the Military Child in 1986, there have been an increasing number of campaigns, recognizing the needs of military children. Weinberger wanted to reflect and recognize the contributions and personal sacrifices our children make to our armed forces. He saw the need to not leave children behind.
Our children frequently experience numerous geographic moves, involuntary adaptations to new communities and schools, living in foreign countries, peacetime separations, remote unaccompanied assignments and deployments. Military children are some of the most resilient people around. At any point, our kids could be uprooted and moved to a different location. They have to leave their schools and friends, sometimes in the middle of the school year, and still manage to embrace their new school systems and communities. Even on their rougher days, our kids are able to keep their heads up and find happiness. This is strength. I feel we all need to embrace and live each day to the fullest. Our children most often solve their problems on their own before seeking assistance. No matter what life throws at our kids, they always seem to find a way to bounce back.
Military children are often given the term “military brat.” What does that even mean to them? They often get to travel the world because of the locations where we have been stationed. Our kids have seen many places or seen historic artifacts that most adults envy. What did they sacrifice for that? They may have moved multiple times, been without their mother or father for the holidays and birthdays or embraced their title. A “military brat” will often wear the name like a badge of honor because of their experience. They have been exposed to different cultures and languages and find joy in knowing they have traveled the world.
When some people hear you’re a military kid, they are hesitant to grow close to you. “You’re just going to move in a few years. Why invest?” Because when our kids know that when something is temporary, they appreciate it wholeheartedly. Military kids know how to be present, to appreciate the people in their lives and to keep those memories forever.
The month is for our children; they can be identified walking through the halls wearing purple and smiles on their faces. If you see a child wearing purple, thank them. A simple thank you may mean the world to a six year old when their hero is off serving this great nation!