By Meghan Reynolds
(A picture of Daen and Patrick Reynolds [left to right] in their uniforms at a memorial.)
Growing up, it’s essential to have parental figures to guide you. However, oftentimes, military children go without one or more figures; they move around, and sometimes have trouble fitting in.
There is a common misconception that wherever the military member goes, so does the family. However, this is far from the case. Growing up, I originally had the fortune of travelling with my family around the United States, and even to Sicily. Soon after, my parents couldn’t afford to keep moving, so only my father moved around for his military deployment. He was a Navy Chief, a high rank for someone without a college degree, and thus he only came home for one day, and two nights.
I asked around for a few students who knew what it was like growing up in a military family. One of these students was freshman Krysten Brewer, whose step-father and brother are currently in the marine corps. While she wasn’t required to move around due to deployment, she expressed her feelings on growing up military. “In the military life, expectations are higher,” she says, “and punishments are different. Instead of having your phone taken away, we have to do exercises.” When asked how she felt about that, she said that in the long run, the punishments would help better herself.
Of course, it wasn’t necessarily easy for my father either. His absence often caused trouble in my household, and caused my mother a lot of grief. Eventually, my brother enlisted in the army, and was sent away to Iraq. Through that time, I never once saw him in three years.
One of the newer teachers, Mr. Magnusson, spoke with me about his experience. He referred to himself as a ‘military brat’. He wasn’t required to move around either, due to his father being a human resource officer for the Navy. He was in charge of deploying doctors to areas that were in need. As Mr. Magnusson says, “I was aware that my situation was much more fortunate than that of other [military] kids.” As the baby in the family, Magnusson didn’t have to move around, but says that his older siblings weren’t as fortunate.
Though growing up in a military family can be difficult, so too is gearing up for it. Senior Trevor Keefe is currently working to enlist in the Marines. He had said that he wished to become a combat engineer, and that it was mainly because, “The way they were explaining it seemed kinda fun.” I asked him about what possibly made him want to join the military, and he explained that he was a 3rd generation- being that his grandfather, father, and his brother had enlisted. He also shared that while he strayed off the path for a proper enlistment, and he’s working hard to set himself back on track.
While having a family divided may seem like a challenge, military families go through it each day. Be it that their family member is gone, retired, or even enlisting to fight, the factors that ultimately hold them together is the bonds of family.