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CNN's "This Week at War" with John Roberts
Aired January 6, 2007
JOHN ROBERTS: Coming up THIS WEEK AT WAR looks at one group that also serves. Military children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNA MUSIL, WRITER DIRECTOR, "BRATS, OUR JOURNEY HOME":
A lot of brats really do feel like they're this strange mixture of an American and all of the
other places that they've lived.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: On Tuesday the men and women of the Desert Hawks, the First Battalion of the 285th Aviation Regiment,
Arizona National Guard took their leave bound for a year flying Apache helicopters in Afghanistan. It was a
day for final hugs and kisses, tears and a day for creating memories that will have to last until day
or mom comes home.
Sergeant Michael Semeja will be keeping those Apaches fueled up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. MICHAEL SEMEJA, APACHE HELICOPTER REFUELER:
For me, I think it will be a quick year we're going to be busy.
But for my family, I don't know, I just -- it's hard.
I've never left them this long before.
ROBERTS: Hard for the families in war and peace at home and abroad.
A new documentary looks at the burden on one particular group, children of the U.S. military.
Military brats. CNN's Brooke Anderson reports.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):
As long as there have been soldiers, there have been families awaiting their homecoming.
The experiences of the children, of the military brats, are explored in a new
documentary "Brats, Our Journey Home."
The reason I made this film was back about 10 years I got together with my friends I had gone to
school with in Taegu for the first time in 30 years and really for the first time in my life I
felt like I belonged somewhere and I realized I wasn't alone.
Writer, director and army brat Donna Musil says one of the reasons she made the film was to help
today's military children.
MUSIL: It's even worse for the children today because both the mother and the father could be
gone whereas in my generation it was usually the father that was gone.
This is one of the things that concerns me is that,
as a Vietnam era brat that a lot of the Iraq era brats are grow going through the same thing.
There's really not anyone for them to talk to that understands what they're going through.
That's what this film has been about, to help brats understand they're not alone.
Obviously, having loved ones in harm's way is tough, but even in times of peace,
a life of constant movement in the armed forces takes a psychological toll
on spouses and children who have to continually adjust to new schools and say good-bye to close friends.
Military brat Dan Rockholt is glad his kids won't have to experience that.
DAN ROCKHOLT, MILITARY BRAT:
When ever someone asks me, what your hometown?
I don't have an answer.
It would nice to be able say I grew up here or I grew up there.
My children, I'm glad they'll probably have the same group of friends for their entire life.
I wouldn't want them to have to deal with that aspect of growing up military.
Despite the challenges some brats say they wouldn't have it any other way.
The travel, exposure to different countries and cultures made it all worthwhile.
BRIGETTE PARHAM, MILITARY BRAT:
The experience is incredible.
My mom and dad tell me, they're so glad that I was raised overseas that I had -- was educated overseas.
Because the education is quite different.
The education is a little bit more global.
Definitely I would not change it for the world.
I would not change it for the world.
ANDERSON: Others welcome the film because it shines a light on a neglected group.
The one thing that I would like people to take away from the documentary is the fact that the military
brats and the spouses serve just as much as the military members themselves.
They give so much of their lives and in silence.
I really do think they are the unsung heroes of the military.
CNN entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson for THIS WEEK AT WAR.
Look for the film on a national tour of free screenings or online at bratsourjourneyhome.com.