On this Veterans Day, Honor the American Military Family! In remembrance and honor of the Sparks military family tradition…

by | Nov 9, 2013

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! 

Post WWII…The Sparks Military Family Tradition…from the left…
Uncle Ron (served later US Navy), Vernon BMC US Navy, Grandma & Grandpa Sparks, Aunt Juneth & Aunt Dolly

Jerry, Uncle Art (wearing Dad’s uniform), Dad Vernon holding Danny, Mom Marcella 
with Stephen… Post WWII San Diego


Stephen with Dad July 1946

Famous Photo… Vietnam POW’s Family Reunion

Museum of the American Military Family…

“…celebrating over two centuries of our military families’ remarkable contributions…together they serve…”

My Dad, Vernon, started the Sparks military family tradition in 1936 when he joined the US Navy at age 17.  Dad served America in both WWII & Korean War and survived the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 while aboard the USS West Virginia.  The Sparks family is just one of tens of thousands of military families who have served America too!  Since Dad first joined the US Navy in 1936, future generations of Sparks family members served honorably, including oldest brother, Jerry, US Navy; youngest brother Scott, US Air Force; and yours truly, US Navy.  All of us served with pride and honor.  Some of our family members, including cousins, served in combat during the Vietnam War and suffered from physical and moral wounds.  Others served in critical support roles during war and in times of peace, including the Cold War.  The children, mothers & spouses also served keeping the home-fires burning and hope alive for home coming. 

Military family members also became caregivers to the wounded hearts and souls that came home following the wars.  Many family members suffered from secondary PTSD and emotional neglect as a result of continuous stressful exposure as caregivers, children, and loved ones living in the same home as warriors challenged in life after war.  During my early childhood and young adult life in the 1950’s/60’s there was little or no mental health research or treatment strategies for PTSD.  We started to learn much more following the Vietnam War.  Military families today are so much more aware of PTSD and appropriate treatments recommended by primary care physicians and mental health professionals.

I recently started collaborating with the Museum of the American Military Family and have written about the wonderful work of preserving the legacy of the military family history.  We are called “brats” to most who know military kids and family members.  The new documentary film, “Brats…Our Journey Home” (click for this powerful video clip trailer) is heartwarming, glamorous, and painful…all at the same time…  The military family as a whole is very much part of the sacrifice in serving America to protect our freedoms.  Loved ones, especially children, can become collateral damage when a soldier or sailor returns home following deployment and combat duty.  For me, “Brats…”  the documentary film is very cathartic…and healing…

As a proud military “Brat” growing up in the US Navy, I have the distinct pleasure to honor the American Military Family on this Veterans Day, November 11, 2013.  We served too…as caregivers and homemakers long after the wars ended.  We also carried the emotional baggage forward and learned to “survive and thrive” in spite of the challenges of growing up during wartime and in life after war…

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story  click to order…

Brats…”the documentary film…  Click to order from Amazon…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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