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I can't remember a time before being a military brat. When I was born, my father was working as a Navy recruiter at the University of Illinois. I was the only one of my sisters to be born in a non-military hospital. My sister was born at Chanute AFB (now closed). Shortly after she was born, we moved to Hawaii.
My father was gone on ship 10 months out of the year, but thank goodness I don't remember that part. My little sister would often forget who he was, and mom would have to show her pictures and say, "That's daddy," until she remembered. I don't know what the housing is like now, but then, it was horrible. Cockroaches the size of your hand, and geckos that were impossible to get rid of. I started school in Hawaii.

I wish every school I've been to since could have been as relaxed. I don't remember wearing shoes to school, and we were a stone's throw away from the water. It was wonderful. I never got to see the Arizona memorial, and I was never allowed on my father's ship. Children weren't allowed at the Arizona Memorial, and girls were not allowed on ships. Boy have things changed!

I'm not sure these rules still exist, but I'd like to visit Pearl Harbor again, just to see what I missed. The first day we were there, I remember my mom saying that she couldn't imagine such a peaceful place being destroyed so viciously.

We moved from Hawaii to Charleston, S.C. This is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. I went to a small private school, St. John's, that has since been closed. This is the only time we lived off base - the wait for housing was almost a year. After Charleston we moved to Washington, DC, at Bolling AFB. I can't describe the awe and excitment that comes with living in such a powerful city. Our house was just across the Potomac River from the National Airport. We were so close, in fact, that flying kites was prohibited in our neighborhood. We lived there for three years, and I still want to go back to see all the things I missed the first time around.

It is my firm belief that every American should visit the Vietnam Memorial at least once in his or her life. The experience is completely unforgettable and emotionally moving. And I don't personally know anyone listed!

After DC we moved to a small town on the coast of North Carolina. The only thing there is a military base, Cherry Point. This was the only Marine Corps base I've ever lived on. Is it just me, or are Marine Corps bases just a little different from the rest? This is where we were stationed during the Gulf War. I had never been on a base during such a tension filled time. The base just shut itself up for a month. School buses were periodically searched, and you couldn't go ANYWHERE without an ID. And very often, you needed your sponsor in addtion.

I strongly feel that Military Brats understand what it means to be American, more than other young people. Maybe its because we know what our parents risk for the country. Maybe its because we have seen first hand how other countries live. I know that I get misty-eyed at a good redition of the Star Spangled Banner.

I think we understand better how lucky we are to have been born in the United States. The freedoms we have here are phenominal compared to other countries. And military brats, I think, understand better how important it is tp preserve those freedoms we all to often take for granted.
Note: by Wendy Jeffries


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This Day in History
1838: Mexico declares war on France.

1864: The once proud Confederate Army of Tennessee suffers a devastating defeat when its commander, General John Bell Hood, orders a frontal assault on strong Union positions around Franklin, Tennessee. The loss cost Hood six of his finest generals and nearly a third of his force.

1939: The Red Army crosses the Soviet-Finnish border with 465,000 men and 1,000 aircraft. Helsinki was bombed, and 61 Finns were killed in an air raid that steeled the Finns for resistance, not capitulation.

1942: During the Battle of Tassafaronga, the last major naval action in the Solomons, U.S. forces prevent the Japanese attempt to reprovision Japanese troops on Guadalcanal. Six U.S. ships are damaged during the action.

1945: Russian forces take Danzig in Poland and invade Austria.

1950: President Truman declares that the United States will use the A-bomb to get peace in Korea.

1950: Lieutenant General Edward Almond, X Corps commander, ordered X Corps to withdraw south to Hungnam.

1965: Following a visit to South Vietnam, Defense Secretary McNamara reports in a memorandum to President Lyndon B. Johnson that the South Vietnamese government of Nguyen Cao Ky "is surviving, but not acquiring wide support or generating actions."

1972: Defense Department sources say there will not be a full withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam until a final truce agreement is signed, and that such an agreement would not affect the 54,000 U.S. servicemen in Thailand or the 60,000 aboard 7th Fleet ships off the Vietnamese coast.