A military brat’s Christmas memories

Published 10:22 pm Friday, December 10, 2010

Being a transplant to this area, there is perhaps one question I dread above all others: “Now, where exactly are you from originally?”

The way I speak must be odd to area residents, because I get that question a lot, even if I’ve just met the person. It may seem like an easy question to answer, but for me it’s not.

My stock answer — “all over” — is mumbled by many a military brat, and I’m no different.


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From being born in Guam while my dad was stationed on a military base there to moving to California, Illinois and, eventually, Virginia, I can look back and say that being a military brat has had its perks. I’ve learned to adapt quickly to new situations and to make friends easily.

But I’d be lying if I said that growing up with a Navy dad didn’t have challenges. Once we moved to Norfolk, Dad began shipping off on 6-month cruises on an aircraft carrier. I remember getting postcards from Israel, Haiti and many other places. I remember worrying because he was stationed in the Gulf during the Gulf War in the 1990’s.

And I remember always wondering whether he’d get our carefully chosen packages of books and Circus Peanuts in time for his birthday or if he’d be back for Christmas.

By the time I was old enough to fully grasp the dangers of being in the military, he was safely stateside and had retired.

But I know many other military families aren’t so lucky. Having a parent tasked with defending our country is scarier now — with so many wondering if their loved ones will return home from Afghanistan in time for Christmas or how to explain to their child why a family member will never be coming back.

It’s with their sacrifices in mind that I encourage you to give back to a member of the military this holiday season.

Today The Wreath Society will be doing just that, by placing wreaths on the graves of veterans at the cemetery on Milners Road.

You can help them raise money for these simple but meaningful tokens of appreciation by making checks out to The Wreath Society and sending them to SunTrust Bank, 123 N. Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434.

You might even brave the cold today to help the society honor those troops and sailors who made the greatest sacrifice to protect our many freedoms.