Some have been to four different schools in their four years of high school. Others have gone as long as four years without living in the same house as their military parent because of the military commitment. Still others have spent their nights awake, watching over a parent injured in war, calming them when the nightmares come and keeping their siblings safe from the uncontrollable outbursts of PTSD.
It’s this simple, military kids do not get enough credit. They bear the burden of war, often as young as 2-years-old, as they help their families cope during deployment. They care for their injured parents. They care for disabled siblings. Despite all the difficulties, they rise to the occasion, often with more poise and ability than many adults would be able to muster.
They not only rise, they succeed.
I personally called the families of each of the 100 semi-finalists of Operation Homefront’s Military Child of the Year award. It was my job to check name spellings and resume facts. But each time I picked up the phone, I heard so much more.
These children are leading their communities, any community they happen to land in, when the military sends them packing to a new duty station. These children have saved lives with their quick thinking. These children have overcome great personal tragedy.
In each case, rather than dwell on the difficulty of their own situation, they have all looked outward and asked, what can I do to help someone else?
When the nation tore their families apart, often for years at a time to support the war efforts, they did not crumble. They endured the hardships with no fanfare and little thanks.
These are America’s heroes. These are America’s future leaders.
It’s time all of America recognized that fact.
Operation Homefront is proud to honor military children around the world. Next week, we will announce five children, one from each branch of service, who will receive the 2011 Military Child of the Year award. Take time to read about them. You will be humbled. You will be amazed. You will be grateful.