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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
1862: Northwestern Arkansas and Southwestern Missouri is secured for the Union when a force commanded by General James G. Blunt holds off a force of Confederates under General Thomas Hindman.

1917: U.S. declared war on Austria-Hungary with only one dissenting vote in Congress and became the 13th country to do so.

1917: Four U.S. battleships arrive at Scapa Flow taking on the role of the British Grand Fleet's Sixth Battle Squadron. Include USS Delaware (BB-28), USS Florida (BB-30), New York (BB-34), and USS Wyoming (BB-32).

1941: At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, in a sneak attack, Japanese warplanes bomb the U.S. naval base at Oahu Island's Pearl Harbor and the United States enters World War II.

1941: Japanese forces bomb Guam and Wake and Midway is bombarded by Japanese destroyers.

1941: The Canadian government declares war on Japan.

1942: American PT Boats force a Japanese supply convoy to turn back before landing their supplies on Guadalcanal. The convoy is escorted by 7 destroyers led by Captain Sato.

1943: The US 5th Army secures the Mignano gap and expands its offensive. The US 2nd and 6th Corps attack Monte Sammucro and San Pietro. There is determined German resistance.

1944: On Leyte, the US 77th Division lands about one mile south of Ormoc. There is some Japanese resistance. One of the 12 escorting destroyers is sunk by a Kamikaze attack. Meanwhile, the US 7th Division continues attacking northward toward Ormoc.

1944: The US 3rd Army penetrates the Siegfried Line northwest of Saarlautern.