Letters From Military Kids

The Month of the Military Child: In Their Words

19MOMCHeader Life can be tough for military kids. Between deployments, frequent cross-country relocations, school transfers, and everything else that military life throws their way, they encounter a lot of unique challenges.

They don’t always get the recognition they deserve, so one could argue they’re the unsung heroes of the family. The Month of the Military Child is an opportunity to celebrate military kids for their courage and resiliency.

To do that, we wanted to hear their stories in their own words. Throughout April, Pioneer Services team members visited military schools and ASYMCAs across the country to meet them face to face and work on a special assignment – what it means to be a military child.

For their participation, the kids all received a gift bag filled with goodies and school accessories. They also got a pizza party – although some classes voted to go with healthier alternatives like granola bars, fruits, and veggies. And lastly, our team members helped pick the most outstanding entries (which was really tough) based on creativity and execution of the topic. Each winner received a Kindle Fire tablet.

THE LETTERS

The kiddos participating ranged from ages six in first grade through 14 in middle school. They showcased their creative abilities through colorful illustrations, letters, essays, and poems. We’ll dive into the key takeaways and common themes below. But first – the results!

Hampton Roads
School:
Grafton Bethel Elementary School near Langley Air Force Base
Teacher: Ms. Colamorea
Grade: 1st
Assignment: What’s the best thing about being a military child?

The winner from this age group was selected because of the creativity of their colorful artwork. The entry:

01 Hamption Roads Winner My dad is in the Air Force. I am a military child. I love the Air Force.

There were several other heartwarming pieces that take the prize for honorable mention:

02 Hampton Roads 2_2 My dad is in the Air Force. He is my hero.

03 Hampton Roads 3

I am a military kid. I love when they save people.

Fort Bliss
School:
Fort Bliss Elementary School
Teacher: Mrs. Joplin
Grade: 4th
Assignment: What does being a military child mean to you?

The top prize from Mrs. Joplin’s fourth grade class went to Eliana, who seems wise beyond her years. Check out her uplifting and inspirational message:

04 Fort Bliss Winner_3

Being a military child isn’t easy. It means you’re going to have to be mentally tough. It will require moving a lot and missing some friends. One of the struggles of being a military child is deployment or trainings that take your soldier away for a short or long time. But you learn to trust in friends, who turn into family. And your family gets closer and we all have each other’s back. A lot of people call us brats. But I like to think of it this way:

B – Brave
R – Resilient
A – Adventurous
T – Tough

So be proud to be a military BRAT.

Camp Pendleton
School:
Stuart Mesa Elementary School
Teacher: Mrs. Best
Grade: 5th
Assignment: How does it feel to be a military child?

In his essay titled “Military Feelings,” fifth grade winner Isaac described how deployment makes him feel in candid detail. He also shared a nice story about welcoming his baby sister into the world:

05 Camp Pendleton Winner1_3

When my dad is on deployment me and my family feel sad and when he is gone it’s harder for my mom because she has to struggle sometimes…

…there was this one time we found out I was having a baby sister so we were all happy that we were having a baby girl. But later on we also found out that my dad was going on deployment. We were so sad that he was going to miss the baby when it was born. So when the baby was born a few weeks later he came back and when he saw her I could tell there was joy in his eyes.

Fort Hood
School:
Audie Murphy Middle School
Teacher:
Mr. Cooper
Grade: 8th
Assignment: How does it feel to be a military child?

Lynn was the winner from the oldest age group. She wrote a letter to her father, who is nearing retirement, thanking him for his service and offering congratulations. 06 Fort Hood Winner_3 Dear Dad,

Thank you for everything you have done for our family. Everything you have sacrificed for us. Because of you we have been to so many places and met so many great people. The time we were apart, it has been hard and definitely harder on you. You always kept your spirits up even through your hard times. I always never want to move to a new place but you and mom are so supportive. As we came here I thought about the worst but I feel it’s been the best out of all of them. I met great friends, teachers, and had so many great memories. We even got a new family member here! As you retire this year I want to thank you and congratulate you on 19 years. Thank you for your service. I love you.

Love, Lynn.

Honorable mention goes to this inspiring essay:07FortHood2 I am a military brat. My hometown is nowhere. My friends are everywhere. I grew up with the knowledge that home is where the heart and family is. Mobility was my way of life. Some wonder about my roots, yet they are as deep and strong as a mighty oak. I’d sink them quickly, absorbing all an area offers and hopefully giving enrichment in return. Travel taught me to be open. Shaking hands with the universe, I found brotherhood in all men. Farewells were never easy. Yet even in sorrow comes strength and the ability to face tomorrow with anticipation. When we’d leave one place, I felt that half my world was being left behind. But I also knew that the other half was waiting to be met. Friendships were formed in hours and kept for decades. I never grew up with someone, but I will mature with many. Be it inevitable that paths part, there is constant hope that we will meet again. I am a military brat.

COMMON THEMES

We collected dozens of letters and essays throughout the month, and many of them shared common themes. Some of the kids were very open and honest about the challenges they face in their daily lives, including what makes them worry, fearful, and even sad at times. Many talked about deployment; parents leaving or not being around; being worried that mom or dad could get hurt; recognizing they do a dangerous job; leaving friends behind when they have to move to a new school and start over.

HOWEVER, the positives seemed to overwhelmingly outweigh those challenges. Most of these kids don’t dwell on the bad stuff – and that’s an admirable character trait that helps them overcome adversity. The letters highlight many of the positive aspects of military life, including:

  • Making many friends across the country
  • Knowing their parents help people and keep us safe
  • Taking pride in being a military brat
  • Supporting the branch the family serves
  • Wanting to follow in their parents’ footsteps
  • Enjoying a strong sense of community and helping each other
  • Being fortunate enough to travel, enjoy new experiences, and see new things

As we wrap up the Month of the Military Child, we want to thank all the kids we got to meet and interact with throughout the month. We draw inspiration from their stories, their strength, and their resiliency.

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