Paradoxes of the Invisible Tribe

Posted: November 21, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Growing up on military bases means experiencing one of the most bizarre American sub-cultures—one that has existed for generations and impacted millions. It’s a sub-culture not many people outside this “invisible tribe” know about or fully understand. It’s also a lifestyle of many paradoxes. Military kids often feel physically homeless, and at the same time, experience a greater sense of “home” based on the close-knit, we-will-survive-this-together relationships established within their immediate family.  Brats never feel completely rooted in one place, and yet can live practically anywhere. We may have trouble investing in short-term relationships if we don’t see ourselves sticking around too long, but many of us also have enduring friendships that span decades and continents. Often we never feel we truly “belong” in the civilian world, but will experience an immediate connection with other brats and have a strong sense of belonging to a tribe made up of many races, economic backgrounds, and religions.

Like I said, paradoxes.

According to Operation Military Brat, there are currently 1.2 million military kids scattered across the globe and 15 million American alive today who are former brats. I have to admit, I never really knew what the acronym B.R.A.T. stood for until recently. I always thought the person who made it up was just trying to be cute, but it turns out the U.S. military borrowed the term from the British. It stands for British Regimental Attached Traveler.

That kind of makes me feel like a piece of luggage, but whatever. The military is nothing if not practical.

  1. schatziali says:

    Wow, you’re describing my life. It’s nice to know I’m part of an invisible tribe. 🙂

  2. hailstorm27 says:

    You said it!! Anyone else ever get a hankering for an MRE! I loved when my dad would bring them home lol! Spaghetti and meatballs mmmmm! that and i crave robin hood sub sauce sometimes lol!! only brats can understand!!!

  3. sheila says:

    I’m 64. They were k-rations in our day. Dad kept a box in the front coat closet..we’d raid it now and then. We loved the cocoa…

  4. sheila says:

    I’ve been identifying myself as an Army BRAT for a long time. It’s a GOOD thing!

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