Brats serve too.Posted Sunday, August 12, 2012, at 1:11 PM
My last entry apparently ruffled feathers, because apparently I'm an entitled brat who should not complain about her benefits because she didn't earn them.
I earned them.
"A recent RAND study commissioned by
the National Military Family Association
explored how children from military families
are faring with the wartime deployments of
their parents. RAND surveyed 1,500 youth
(applicants to the Association's Operation
PurpleŽ summer camps ranging in age from 11
to 17), as well as each subject's non-deployed
parent at home.
The study found that rates of anxiety among
military children--as well as emotional and
behavioral difficulties--are higher than the
national averages, and that longer periods
of parental deployment exacerbated these
For those of you whose parents weren't in the service growing up, let me ask you this:
Did you ever have nightmares that your mother would drive over an IED?
Did your father ever miss the majority of your birthdays before you were ten?
Did you ever lie in bed wondering if you would get to hear from your parent within the next month?
Have you ever gone years without seeing your extended family, even though you'd really like to?
Military brats can suffer PTSD, Avoidant Personality Disorder and separation anxiety. Wertsch, Mary Edwards (April 23, 1991). Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress (1st hardcover edition). Harmony. ISBN 0-517-58400-X.
Have you ever had to explain to your 7-year-old brother why the firecrackers terrify your mother, when he's upset that mom doesn't want to come play on the fourth of July?
No, I didn't go into a war zone, but don't think for a second that I didn't make sacrifices. My parents could not afford to send me to college without the help of the GI Bill. See, the military doesn't pay a whole lot as you're moving through the lower ranks, and caring for three children forces you to stretch those dollars further. We never went without the basics, but we certainly weren't taking lavish vacations and driving fancy cars. My family didn't have the opportunity to save for college.
My mother was able to use spouse benefits to obtain her associate's degree, but the post 9/11 GI bill was a true blessing. My parents are like any other- they want more for us than they did, and they want us all to go to college. My father didn't feel he needed it and my mother had her degree. The benefits were there for them to do as they saw fit, and they did what they felt was the best choice: they gave them to their children, as they were allowed to do.
So pardon me if I'm upset that I can't get a break on tuition so I can be close to my extended family, since I will graduate before my mother can retire (so there's no guarantee I can go to school close to immediate). Pardon me if I get frustrated at the way the VA chooses to split certain payments that leave me scrambling for rent some months.
My parents earned the right to those benefits, and I earned the ability to use them.
The GI Bill isn't an "entitlement". It's an earned benefit for both military and the dependents that can use them. I worked for them. My parents worked for them. Don't try to marginalize my sacrifices as a military child.
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