Introduction to “Military Brats” – 12

I thought I was singular in all this, one of a kind.  From Mary’s book, I discover that I speak in the multi-tongued, deep-throated voice of my tribe.   By writing this book, she handed me a visa to an invisible city where I am welcomed for the first time as a native son.  Her book speaks in a language that is clear and stinging and instantly recognizable to me, yet it’s a language I was not even aware I spoke.  She isolates the military brats of America as a new indigenous subculture with our own customs, rites of passage, forms of communication and folkways.  When I write The Great Santini I thought I’d lived a life like no other child in this country.  I had no clue that with The Great Santini, I had accidentally broken into the heart of both the military brat’s truth and cliché.  With this book, Mary astonished me and introduced me to a secret family I did not know I had.

This great family of military brats has had no voice because we’ve assimilated so well into the slipstreams of American life.  We’ve never had a way of reaching out to each other, letting each other know we were around, that we endured and even prospered in out trial by father and the permanent transiency of our sturdy breed.

But Mary takes the testimony of these children of the military experience and tells us what it means.  With her brilliant analysis of these far-flung anonymous voices, she lets us know we are brothers and sisters who belong to a hidden, unpraised country.  To those of us without homes or hometowns, Mary Wertsch gives, for the first time, a sense of spirit and pride.

And it is in these paragraphs my inspiration to have our Nation, the Congress, recognize us for our sacrifices, our commitment and our service to our Nation.  In 2010 my US Representative, Bob Latta, R/OH (Dist. 5) introduced legislation proposing exactly this – in the form of a Congressional Lapel pin:  This bill “died in committee” in December 2010.

In  March 2011, Bob reintroduced the bill as HR 1014:  Essentially the same bill, it sat for 2 years with no action, and subsequently “died in committee.”

(I plan to “tee off” on our ‘weak-dick’ congress here soon, in another thread.  These were/are simple bills.  The idea has merit.  Yet, our legislators can’t get off their asses, and pass this legislation in a “straight-up” vote.)


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