April is the Month of the Military Child

Purple Up with the Virginia War Memorial

There are more than 1.6 million children of military service members in the United States. Overall, military kids lead a very different lifestyle from those born into civilian homes. Their world revolves around the culture of the military, the constant cycle of movement, and an ability to overcome obstacles associated with a life on the move. Seeing a parent occupy a role of public service and sacrifice often plays a large part in who these kids grow up to become. More than one quarter of American military recruits have had a parent who has served.  It is incredibly important always, but especially in April, to recognize and honor the challenges that come with being a military child. 

Military “brats,” as they are often called, come from a rich history of challenge and sacrifice. The term “brat” comes from a part of military history believed to tie to the British military. If the families of British military members were given permission to go with their soldier, they were given the title “British Regiment Attached Traveler.” It is believed that eventually that would be shortened to the term BRAT, and that term would eventually apply to all children of military service  members.  Although a more popular interpretation of the BRAT acronym for military children today might be “Born Resilient And Tough.”

Sponsored by the Department of Defense Office of Military Community and Family Policy, the Month of the Military Child is a time to highlight the unique challenges facing America’s military kids. They move around frequently, often not staying in one place for more than a couple years. They spend extended amounts of time away from parents during periods of training or deployment. Military kids are also often exposed to the realities of war, violence, and conflict  that most children in civilian households do not experience. 

Purple is the official  color of the Month of the Military Child, and for good reason. When combined, the symbolic colors of all the branches of the United States military make purple.  Purple Up! Day is celebrated on April 15, and Virginia has designated April 19 as the official state-day of recognition. Join the Virginia War Memorial on April 15, 19, and throughout April and wear something purple to raise awareness and show support for America’s military children.

Share your Purple Up! Day  photos with us by using #VWMPurpleUp across social media platforms and tag us on Instagram and Twitter @VaWarMemorial. 

by Crystal Coon, Assistant Director of Education

View our Livestream from April 2021 that salutes the children of military families: