Friday, December 24, 2010

My Last Christmas in Germany

by Maryellen Fuller Kitchen
Scottsdale, Arizona


Whenever Christmas carols fill the air I always think of the last Christmas our family spent in Germany based with the U.S. Army at Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany.

I was 13 years old and had spent more than half of my life in a foreign country. We felt deprived as military children of some things my cousins back in the U.S. took for granted such as real hamburger rolls and ice cream. They were sometimes flown in as a treat for the servicemen and their families, especially around the holidays.

We attended Sunday school every week and Christmas was always a special time. The junior department presented a nativity scene as a dramatic ending to the adult choir’s concert. I had been an angel hidden in the background the year before but this time my secret desire was to be Mary. After all, my long brown hair seemed more appropriate than my blond competitor’s. I also had a crush on Robert who was a shoo-in to portray Joseph.

As fate would have it, the night arrived and I’ll never forget how much more angelic I felt as the choir sang “O Holy Night”; I was Mary and Robert (sigh) was Joseph.

I never saw pictures taken of our Christmas scene for we soon departed Germany and they never caught up with us in the mail. However, the memory of that beautiful nativity scene has endured for years! My favorite Christmas carol has always been “O Holy Night”, too.

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If you have a favorite "Growing Up Military" Christmas story, please email it from the Military Brats Registry contact page.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

“BRATS: Our Journey Home” — TV Premiere

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--One of the toughest jobs in the armed forces is to grow up military or a “Brat.” The award-winning festival favorite, “BRATS: Our Journey Home,” is a documentary that explores the social and psychological impacts of growing up in a military family. There are over 1.5 million “Brats” in the U.S., whose parent(s) currently serve in the military. An estimated 15 million Americans are adult “Brats.”

“I want this documentary to give families the opportunity to talk about their feelings and share their experiences, and help their children grow positively in a military family environment, even if part of that family experience is traumatic”

The trauma these children experience has become a growing concern for many U.S. families and healthcare workers as the current war turns almost a decade old. Filmmaker and fellow Brat, Donna Musil wants to bring this problem to the forefront. As a child who lost her own father to the Vietnam War, Musil knows too well the pain and conflict that come from constant moving, no family roots, losing a parent and finally, leaving the military life with no closure. “I want this documentary to give families the opportunity to talk about their feelings and share their experiences, and help their children grow positively in a military family environment, even if part of that family experience is traumatic,” stated Musil.

Musil started a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit group, Brats Without Borders, in 1999 to help create a sounding board and to educate the public about the sacrifices military children make. “B.R.A.T.” is a time-honored, historical reference to military children based on the acronym “British Regimental Attached Traveler.” This select group of Americans makes up over five percent of the population in the U.S. Many of these adult Brats have experienced high numbers of divorce, drug and alcohol abuse. Almost all have felt alone with their issues, never knowing that others have had similar experiences.

“BRATS: Our Journey Home” is a two-hour documentary narrated by Kris Kristofferson, and featuring General Norman Schwarzkopf, both military Brats. Discovery’s Military Channel will be airing this informative documentary during the month of December, with the North American television premiere on Friday, December 10, 2010, at 9 p.m. EST. For more details about the film go to www.bratsfilm.com.

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