Associated Content review
"A Military Brat's Review of BRATS: Our Journey Home by Donna Musil"
Lucy Newman, Associated Content
July 20, 2007
We moved every three to four years and with each move we lost personal friendships we've made during
our stay. Then had to begin all over again once we reached our destination. When we moved back to
America, we knew we may have to go to school off post where teachers and non-military children would
never understand us. They seem to think we really do live our lives as portrayed by Hollywood. The
militant father, obedient mother and disciplined children used to taking orders. For a brat like me,
you can always tell who's new to the military world (those who have married into the military), those
who have lived in an area all their lives and those who have lived the military life all their lives
like I have. Always feeling like we didn't belong in the civilian world or to any one area.
The movie pointed out many truths that seemed to have lifted a heavy weight from shoulders as I
watched this film. Truths such as we seem to be more open minded people as we grow up, everything
we did reflected on our parent's career in the military, there was no racial problem in the military
since in my case 'we only saw green.' The only segregation was by rank - the officers and the
enlisted - as I was often reminded of this growing up. Enlisted children do not play with officer's
children and this included dating. Which was sad, but I didn't want to do anything to get my father
in trouble with his chain of command. It was bad enough I seemed to have had discipline problems in
the local schools.
I argued with my dad that we should live on the installation because the school's were better.
In fact for a military child they were, because you went to school with others who were experiencing
and living the same life as you. The teachers understood your needs and worked with you, especially
when a parent had to deploy or go away for a month on training missions. Causing a great stress in
your life. Off post, you were treated as a disruption and often punished whether you deserved it or
not. This is true today.
If you ever talk to the military children of today, they'll say the same thing. According to a little
girl I interviewed one day, she said 'it's easier to go to school on the base because everyone shares
the same experiences you are and knows what you are going through. I feel safer here. Off post they
don't understand because they can go home every day and know their parents are there. I may go home
and he's gone for weeks or even months.'
At the end of the movie I felt as if someone understood me and I wasn't alone. Other brats have been
looking for their former classmates all this time. But I also learned how others viewed us when a woman
in the audience voiced that military children grow up and are taught violence on the military basis.
Which, myself and a few others gasped that she thought that way. This was simply not true and obviously
she missed the whole point of the movie.
What I came away from the film with was that we are global nomads, learning to keep up with our
parent's career and experienced many things first hand by sacrificing everything to make it happen.
I thought the film was great and explains the real military brat without all the Hollywood glamor,
pretty faces and well-known actors. This was a movie that really does tell our story and I