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Alabama Live/WSFA-Channel 12 News segment - Montgomery, AL
Aired May 18, 2007
Military life is a bit of a mystery to those who have never lived it. Most of us stay on the
same street corner as we grow into adulthood - playing with the same neighbors, growing in
familiarity with their habits, and learning to depend on the support system that those
familiar faces bring. These things are taken for granted by most people.
However, that is a luxury many military families are not afforded.
As military needs change, the soldier is required to compensate.
For children who grow up in the shadows of a military parent, that means changing schools,
friends, states, and sometimes even countries on a regular basis.
The term "military brat" has been coined for these zip-code intolerant children.
A new documentary called "Brats: Our Journey Home" was featured at the Capri Theatre in
Montgomery Thursday night. It features celebrities like Kris Kristofferson whose father
was a U.S. general.
He says, "For some, home is not a place, it's a state of mind. Our passport says we're
American, but we're really citizens of the world."
Donna Musil, who made the "Brats" film sat down with Kim Hendrix to discuss the movie and
what it was like growing up in a military family.
When asked where she was from, she paused for a moment not knowing what to say.
Then she replied that it wasn't an actual place that she was from, but more a special
group of people.
Only five percent of Americans are said to be in this special group. By the time Musil was
eight years old she had already moved six times. At graduation time, she had attended 11
Her parents moved the family to Germany, Korea, and many states in the U.S. Still, Musil
says that she had a love/hate relationship with the lifestyle.
She enjoyed traveling, but at the same time acknowledges that," As a child you're just
getting along....It's almost like you like the things you dislike at the same time."
There have been a number of positive effects that Musil can see looking back.
Because of the integrated environments that military brats live in, she says she's very
tolerant of people.
In traveling, Musil believes brats have an 'outsider's view on things and can be very
empathetic as well.
Then there is a sense of mission that military children harbor, because it is understood
that joining the military is never to get rich.
In the rigid world of military families, where Musil says black is black and white is white,
she has found a place where she knows who she is, and where she's from.
The experience is one that she says she would never trade.