Dear United States Army

We often talk about the places we lived and what we experienced, but in this letter, Pete gives thanks to the U.S. Army who made his Military Brat experience possible.

 

The author would like to thank Stefanie Penland for her editing expertise.

22 September, 2010

Dear United States Army:

I have often heard stories of wealthy, affluent teens having opportunities to study abroad or even take a year after graduating to travel the world to “find themselves.” As fate might have it, I was born into a family of modest means with a young father and even younger mother, in rural Georgia.

Yet, amazingly, I was given many of those same opportunities at a much younger age as I was an Army Brat. I studied at schools on base or in DOD schools in Georgia, North Carolina, Washington DC, Alabama, and Northern Germany.

I have traveled to the Eiffel tower in Paris, the Gateway to the west in St Louis, the Lincoln Memorial in our nation’s capital, and the ancient cathedrals in Trier. I have personally seen the Mona Lisa, camped in the Black Forest, stood at the Berlin wall guarded by armed communist soldiers before its destruction, seen the snow covered Alps of Switzerland, and witnessed a funeral procession in Arlington National Cemetery.

While I ‘found myself,’ I was learning new languages, rapidly adjusting to new cultures and environments, and meeting new friends from around the world. I went to the DYA, participated in neighborhood clean-ups, and helped Mom clear quarters. I celebrated Dad’s promotions, witnessed the true meaning of discipline, respect and sacrifice and learned how to grow together as a close family and community when all you have are each other.

I just want to thank you for all the opportunities and experiences you provided me. While I never wore the uniform, thank you for helping me become the man I am today.

Humbly,

Retired Master Sgt. Willis’ son

Proud Army Brat,

L. Pete Willis

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6 Comments
  1. Great letter Pete !!! This letter is a wonderful way of honoring your parents hard work and service to our country. They must be so proud.

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  2. Hi Pete, thanks again for sending your letter to Military Brat Life. Everything you mentioned applies to me as well, except I didn’t do such a good job of learning a foreign language, unless you consider mastering a number of swear words.

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    • VANN B ,  ITS FUNNY YOU MENTION SWEAR WORDS .. I LIVED IN JAPAN AND GERMANY AND PEOPLE OFTEN ASK “DID YOU LEARN THE LANGUAGE THEIR” AND I ALWAYS SAY ALL MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS (6) ALWAYS LEARNED ALL THE SWEAR WORDS IN THE RESPECTIVE LANGUAGES WITHIN A WEEK OR SO .. STILL KNOW THEM TODAY 40 YEARS LATER .. TOO FUNNY 

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  3. We had a great time on Armed Forces Day, especially when we lived on Ft. Knox, where my dad was a D.I. There were tanks all over the post, but most were mere shells and nothing worked on them.

    It was fun to see current tanks (probably M-60s at that time) and to peer inside and see them loaded with equipment.

    I can’t remember how many civilians came to participate, but I remember it was a fund day and I was able to see things we didn’t have access to normally.

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  4. I fondly remenber climbing in and out of US Army Tanks as a girl and not really understanding the significance of such a unique priviledge! Being able to attend promotional ceremonies and see the parades of all the soldiers marching! These are some of my childhood memories that I am sure that other brats also can remenber!  I always looked forward to seeing my Dad in uniform; Master Sargent Vernon V. Cook!Josephine Cook

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  5. My Dad used to say that we had been given a chance to see places other people onlydreamed of. How true that was. every school vacation while we were stationed at Stuttgart we went somewhere. All over Europe and even into Africa. Over all I still think berlin was my favorite. I remember the night train and pulling into berlin the following morning. I never got tired of going there!

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