In honor of Veteran’s Day I thought I’d do a little tribute to my favorite vet – my dad. My dad, Lt. Col. Kevin H., served in the U.S. military (first the Navy and then the Air Force) for a little over 20 years. He dedicated those 20 years to providing dental care for the other active duty members and their families.
While my dad thankfully was never deployed I vividly remember being a first grader when the US started Operation Desert Storm. Somehow I was awake for the President’s TV announcement and I was fearful that my dad would have to deploy. I even went so far as to write a letter to the now former first President Bush pleading that we just make peace because I didn’t want my dad to leave. That day never came and I did receive a lovely book about the White House in response to my letter. He did, however, come close to deployment in 2002. He was supposed to deploy to an undisclosed location to play MASH in the desert. The threat of him leaving was enough to drive me crazy from worry.
As a brat (military brat
according to urbandictionary.com
is : child of a soldier. grew up in a community of service. academic studies show military brats lack any kind of racism. military brats grow up all over the world and move frequently. they are accustomed to sacrifice for the greater good.) I have to say that I really do have a rather temporary view of life. We moved every two to three years as I was growing up. As a result I tend to dive in quickly into friendships and relationships because I learned that the only way to have any kind of life was to assert myself in a new setting. I also learned how to be adaptable to any situation and how to fit into my surroundings. When we moved to Biloxi I was called a “Yankee” until I figured out how to have a Southern accent. I also learned that “coke” meant any drink with carbonation and that no one would understand what I meant if I ordered “pop.”
I also got to see the world and learned that the US is not the only place to live nor is my way the correct way of living. I made amazing friends that I still am close to today. And we have friends that our family made while we lived in Ramstein, Germany, that feel more like family than some relatives. I learned about discipline from watching my dad during his military career. I learned about what is acceptable and what isn’t and how to conduct myself under pressure.
During the 9/11 crisis my dad was stationed at McGuire AFB in New Jersey. McGuire was the closest open runway to NYC. My dad’s job was to work in the CAT, which was an underground control area. He was one of the dental command representatives who was assisting in coordinating the base-wide efforts to the crisis. It might seem like a small job but one that had to be done and that’s what the military has taught me. You do what’s needed to get the job done for the betterment of those around you. You put aside your personal needs and preferences.
Thanks to my dad and to all of my friends and family who are currently serving. And thanks too to all you brats and spouses out there who embrace the military lifestyle too, not because it’s easy but because you see the bigger picture as well.
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As the creator of the lifestyle blog Me Before Mom, Bert supports millennial moms facing the challenges and changes of motherhood. Me Before Mom is an online community that offers support through real life stories, encouraging advice, and answers to questions about how a woman maintains herself during this self-sacrificial time of parenthood. Stories from Bert Anderson have helped women across the globe through the Huffington Post, Today’s Parent, and on the Harry show. Whether weathering the first year of motherhood or walking through the later stages of motherhood, Bert has helped many continue to find herself while still in the throes of motherhood.