Pulled from the pages of Issue #2 of MILITARY KIDS’ LIFE magazine.
I’m the ONLY Military Kid at My School
By Ethan, age 11
Have you wondered if you are the only military kid at your school? Well, what if you KNEW you were the only one?
I have been an Army kid for over eight years. We have lived in four different states, and I have experienced living on and off post.
When we were stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, we lived in Pueblo West, which is about 45 minutes south of the post. I went to civilian schools, but there were a ton of other military kids at my school.
We also lived off post in Monterey, California. We were surrounded by other military families.
When we moved to Fort Bragg, we lived smack-dab in the middle of post. I had my first experience in on-post schools and man-oh-man was that different. There were lots of military kids! It was awesome.
All of the other kids were living the same life as me. They all understood what I was going through and they did not ask 5 million questions like the kids in the civilian schools did. I loved being on post, I loved the neighborhood we lived in, and the teachers at my school were awesome!!
Then my dad came down on recruiting orders and we were moving to a place far away from a military post. Okay, so Sacramento is not that far from Travis Air Force Base, but we could not live on post as that would be, as my mom says, “ a terrible commute” for my dad.
Now we live in the heart of the city, and you guessed it, I am actually the ONLY military kid. I go to a school with over 4,000 kids and I am the only one.
My first day of school was really odd. Over the loud speaker, they asked us to stand for the pledge, so I did, but I was the only one who did. Yes, the only one in the classroom, other than the teacher standing.
The kids looked at me funny. I was confused. I was always told I had to stand. It’s a sign of respect for the flag. In fact, it made me a little mad that the other kids did not stand.
I was asked at lunchtime why I stood up for the pledge. I told them I am a military kid and my dad fights for that flag. My dad had several friends who died for that flag and your freedom, so it’s all about respect.
They had no clue what I was talking about and that made me feel really odd. A lot of the kids ask me a ton of questions. They all have no clue about the military and my friends think it is so cool that I have lived all over the United States.
Cool? I’m not so sure.
I will go where my mom and dad go, but sometimes I want to just stay in one town for longer than a few years at a time.
It is a culture shock when you live on post for so many years and then are forced to move off and live the “civilian” life again.
My mom is always complaining about how she misses the commissary.
My dad is fine with it as I think he just does whatever the Army tells him. He said it’s not much different to him.
My sister loves her new school, but she still misses all her friends at Fort Bragg.
As for me, well, I am not sure.
- hearing the cannon go off at 5 p.m each day
- the sounds of the soldiers in the field
- seeing all the soldiers in uniform picking up their kids from school
- the field trips to watch the soldier jump out of airplanes
- My dad’s new job reminds me a lot of my mom’s job. A civilian job. He has an office and he drives a company car.
- He is out in the community all day. The only thing that is the same is he wears Army green to work everyday.
I am not sure about this new mission the Army has put my family on. Recruiting command is a lot different from the real Army.
There is no Family Readiness Group (FRG). I miss the cool things the FRG did: BBQ’s, Organization Day, free food all the time, they were always giving away prizes, and then there were the really fun Christmas parties. I miss that.
I miss my dad working a “kinda” regular schedule, if you get what I am saying. This is different. And I feel odd being the only military kid in my entire school. When my dad comes to the school in ACU’s all the kids at the school run to him. They call him a hero.
That part is cool. My dad. The hero.
Ethan’s mom, Bobbi, is the Marketing Manager for www.mymilitarysavings.com, where active and retired military families can find exclusive online savings, discounts, promotions, and recipes.