I grew up a Brat. Some say it stands for “Born Raised and Transferred”, basically kids who are the sons and daughters of military personnel.
My dad was in Vietnam and then he met and married my mom and we moved all over the place for many years. Places like Mildenhall, England and Bitburg, Germany. Ankara, Turkey and Verona, Italy. Comiso, Sicily and Zaragoza, Spain.
We Brats are part of sub-culture that very few people understand as pointed out by fellow brat and Great Santini author, Pat Conroy.
“We spent our entire childhoods in the service of our country, and no one even knew we were there.”
A quick Google search of “military brat” reveals a list of interesting websites including an awesome Wiki page on what life as a Brat was and is like.
For me, life as a Brat was my normal and I look back on my years on bases in foreign countries with love and respect. I remember things that non-brats think are quirky like having to stand up before every movie because the National Anthem played, or never being able to answer the question “where is your hometown?”
Brats are patriotic and survivors. We are resilient and we deserve the recognition of serving in our own, quiet way. No one recruited us, we were born into this life and we wave the flag proudly. So on this Veteran’s Day, here’s to all the Brats who served too.
Here’s a photo of my dad, (Ret.) USAF Col Richard Lee with then Sec of Def Dick Cheney at Iraklion Air Station, Crete, Greece.