I am a military brat. Now, I don't exactly know what that means, or why I am called that. I normally think a brat is someone that is spoiled and ungrateful. From what I experienced, kids raised in military families are generally neither of those.
First of all, we lived in base housing--duplexes, for the most part. Old duplexes, with a carport instead of a garage, and spiders. We used a lot of acronyms growing up. I don't know what they stand for, but I can use them fluently: TDY, ROTC, BX, NCO, BXPX, ID. We played with red and blue ink pads with "Top Secret" stamps. My dad would bring us stickers with different types of missiles on them, and I would say things like, "My favorite is the Peacekeeper" or "Can I have your Minuteman?" We (well, my brother anyway) knew the names of every plane ever built, and we have TONS of photos of blue sky with specks on it--specks that were later circled and identified as "B-52" or "F-16."
We would watch the news, and look at our dad whenever war or conflict was reported. For some reason, those headlines seemed to carry a lot of weight in our family.
I remember wearing my dad's navy colored cap, and slipping my feet into oversized shiny black shoes.
I remember going to the base movie theater. It only had one movie screen, so everyone would gather in the lobby, and then sit down in the theater together. The commercials would play, popcorn would be eaten, drinks would be slurped, and then the moment would arrive.
We all stand up and watch the flag wave on the screen. We put our hands over hearts and everyone in that room joined in singing The Star Spangled Banner. As soon as the music stopped, there would be a cheer, and then the movie would begin.
Now, knowing my background, you can imagine the feelings that filled my heart as I woke up one July morning to find about twenty American flags waving in my yard.
Did we have a family member serving in the Armed Forces?
Did someone die?
Was it Independence Day?
Did we have a Gold Medal Olympian living in our house?
Then why the flags?
Our neighbors put them in our yard to antagonize my husband. You see, it was July 1st, and my husband had organized the 3rd Annual [Neighborhood] Canada Day Parade.
The fact that I support my husband's parading around the neighborhood makes me a saint.
The fact that I thoroughly enjoyed having those flags in my yard...well, I guess that is what makes me a brat.