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Military Kids

The Nomad

California, North Carolina, New Jersey, Washington, New Jersey, Germany, New Jersey, and Texas, all before the third grade.

What does it do to a child’s psyche who has to move almost every year? The nomad lifestyle, at least in this case, did not end with military service. Moving seemed to be in the family’s blood and impossible to shake.

Temple, Belton, College Station, Bryan, Mexia, and Moody, all before freshman year.  Military kids’ unique challenges may be unfamiliar to those who have not lived that life. Constantly being the new kid and trying to fit in can negatively impact self-esteem, feelings of acceptance, and the ability to identify with home.

For this military kid, it wasn’t until I left central Texas that I felt like I had a hometown, a home base, or a place where I belonged.

So, if you meet a military kid who has been moved around the world, give them a high-five because that is hard work.


Lasting Impacts

Since 2001, most active-duty military deployed overseas every two or three years. Service Members would be deployed, returned, trained, and deployed again. It’s like a whirlwind, with barely enough time to develop and maintain personal connections with family members.

The impact of deployment on children can stretch across a spectrum from okay to devastating. According to the Department of Defense, nearly one million military children have had at least one parent deploy to either Afghanistan or Iraq.

While deployments may have slowed, the lasting impacts on these kids cannot be ignored. Feelings of anxiety, depression, and disconnection can remain long after the parent(s) return home.



Yes, it’s weird always to be the new kid. But military kids are often the most interesting people in the room, full of stories of adventure, experiences, and cultures most can only imagine.

Many times, these travelers will develop a deep sense of curiosity and appreciation for the diversity of the world that can lead to impactful positions of service in adulthood.

From the castles of Germany to the city streets of Tokyo or the ancient ruins of Italy, these kids have seen much beauty and wonder.

The change in environment can also enforce an ability to be adaptable and flexible in new situations. Military kids learn to adjust quickly to different customs, traditions, and social norms. While overcoming the loss of leaving a good friend behind, they can meet so many more and, with social media, stay connected for years to come.



The future of our world lies in the hands of today’s youth. But it is our responsibility to recognize the qualities within America’s military kids. We can nurture their unique talents and experience and help them grow into future leaders.

Unique opportunities are available through The American Legion to teach Americanism and to promote patriotism in our youth.

American Legion youth programs include community service and safety activities, and community betterment programs.

The Service to God and Country program, American Legion Baseball, American Legion’s partnership with Boys and Girl Scouts of America, the Junior Law Cadet Program, The American Legion Junior Shooting Sports, American Legion Boys State and Nation, and the Flag Education Program, are among the many programs available to military kids.

The youth activities programs of The American Legion1 are designed to build physical, mental, and moral alertness in youth; to cultivate in young America strong character, wholesome ideals, and an appreciation for their heritage and freedom, and to develop devotion to civic responsibility.

Resources: Report on the Impact of Deployment of Members of the Armed Forces on Their Dependent Children:

For information about local youth programs they offer, visit American Legion Post 108 online at or contact them by email at

1 Source: Michigan Legion, American Legion Handbook.



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