Are Veteran Kids Military Kids, Too?

NMFA-Veteran's-Day-2014-165“I’m a military kid too, right Mommy?” Zana, my 4-year-old asks hopefully. “I want us to be a military family!”

Clearly, I’ve been talking about the National Military Family Association a lot. And our recent trip to New York for the Veterans Day sealed the deal–military kids are awesome. Both girls had the privilege to walk with dozens of military families representing our Association in America’s Parade. Our message was so powerful that even a 4-year-old heard it loud and clear. It’s cool to be part of a military family!

But are we a military family?

My older daughter, Lira, was born when my husband was an active duty Marine—so she was definitely a military kid. But is she now? And what about Zana? Does being the child of a veteran count?

I thought about the poem written and recited by military kid Laura Marin at our Veterans Day reception:

“I’m an unrooted child. My life is mostly in brown boxes.”

“I’m leaving behind all that is familiar, again. I’m facing the unknown one more time.”

dave-and-liraNone of this describes my kids’ lives. We’ve lived in the same house, since transitioning out of the military, with no plans of moving. They don’t have to deal with deployments and separations. They don’t have to change schools or constantly make new friends. But they do have that military kid spirit.

They are proud. They are resilient, and even though one of my daughters wasn’t born and the other can barely remember when Dave was in the military—they are military kids.

They are growing up with a love of country. They respect and honor service. And like many veteran kids—they have to deal with the after-effects of military life . Dave was medically separated after having his spine fused (among other injuries), and can’t physically do what he once could. Going for a run isn’t an option, but he’ll ignore the pain and hold the girls on his shoulders when we go for a walk.

So Zana, yes. We are a military family. And we share this sentiment, also from Laura’s poem:

“Sleep peacefully in your beds at night United States of America. My family and I got your back.”

Do you think kids of veterans are still military kids? Let us know your thoughts!

Besa-PinchottiPosted by Besa Pinchotti, Communications Director


Add yours
  1. 3

    our daughter was 4 when my husband retired after 20 yrs of AD. She remembers his uniform and has occasionally asked why he doesn’t wear it any more. We first retired to Tampa were some of her classmates still had AD parents. She did want her dad to come to school in his uniform for a program once, he didn’t keep very many so what she wanted wasn’t possible on short notice due to cleaning and finding medals etc. Now we live in Japan and see more Navy when on base but at age 8 she doesn’t talk about it much. I do feel different as every once in and awhile on a local Facebook support group I will get a comment like this: you all are just GS civilians. Interestingly DOD makes it harder for civilians to take jobs overseas as we don’t get the financial support the way AD members do for living off base, which we have to do. AND since we live off base away from the Navy base I feel more like an expat family than military one but because my husband works for DOD and not a corporation we don’t quit fit w the expat community either. Not sure if this is what you are asking but we all three are still very much feeling the military life and we are proud of our veteran and his continued service and sacrifice to our nation. Just because we choose to take a job overseas and leave family behind doesn’t mean the sacrifice doesn’t still exist and it is still hard sometimes to be away from our easier life in Tampa.

  2. 5

    My three kids are still feeling the effects of being military brats….their daddy did 24 years in the Navy and they moved more than they can remember. Now that we are retired…. They are still the odd person out at school. Even our college student is feeling it. But they are so proud of their dad and everything they got to experience. My daughter is thinking about enlisting after college grad this spring. I think they will always be military brats no matter how old they are!!

  3. 7

    I am a 57 year old military kid! My father was career Air Force and is now at the National Cemetery, but my sisters & I still tell people we are Air Force BRATS. Please reassure your 4 year old, she is one of us and always will be.

  4. 9

    Once a brat always a military brat but I honestly don’t count some being born after a retirement a military brat unless they understand what many military kids understand like commissary and exchange and actually being alive when there parent or parents are active duty

  5. 10

    Also I grew up with the military so yeah and I’m not saying civies are bad or anything but I would say if you old enough and understand military life then transferring to civie life is hard because they don’t have any idea what a commissary is exchange or sometimes having parents going on deployment and I cringe (no offense) when ever someone says gro… gro.. grocery store because it was the way I was raised knowing certain things that civies don’t know

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