The above picture was featured in the movie “Brats: Our Journey Home.” It was Christmas, 1941, Ft. Davis, Panama CZ. Pictured from the left to right, Ann, Hudson and Tony Philips. They have just been told that they must leave Panama and their father must stay behind.
“Our evacuation from the Panama Canal was a terribly sad and sudden thing. As we approached the time that we were to leave, my father’s demeanor changed to a terse and commanding presence. It was time to be soldiers. When I think back now, it explains why he acted this way. A barrage balloon hovered over the house, tethered not far away. Piles of sand were placed near our back door to help extinguish fire from incendiary bombs. The entire family was issued gas masks. I was informed of a stash of emergency items in a compartment in the kitchen (in case my parents were out of the house during an attack.)”
MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY FAMILY TO SHOW THE STORY OF SCHOOLS ON U.S. BASES AROUND THE WORLDSpecial Exhibit Opens July 11 in Albuquerque
By Allen Dale Olson
“Less than a third of one of America’s largest school systems is actually in the United States. Its 78,000 K-12 students attend 181 schools, 58 of which are in the States, the rest spread around the world from the Far and Middle East to Western Europe.
Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, as part of the Defense Department (DoD), it has field offices in Peachtree, Georgia, and in Japan and Germany. The Department of Defense Education Agency (DoDEA) is a civilian educator agency serving the families of American military personnel.
The history, challenges, and achievements of this unique school system will be on display in the Main Reading Room of the Albuquerque Special Collections Library starting July 11 and running through August 22, with an opening ceremony on July 16 at 5:00 p.m.
An exhibit created by the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF),“Schooling with Uncle Sam” uses quotes, photos, documents, and artifacts gathered from around the world from former students, teachers, administrators, and military personnel and curated by MAMF volunteers with decades of experience in the DoD schools. MAMF is the only museum in the country dedicated exclusively to collecting and preserving the stories of the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, spouses, and other relatives of uniformed personnel from our nation’s founding to the present.” Click on the title link above for more on this story…
The following will be included in the Museum of the American Military Family, “Schooling with Uncle Sam” exhibit. It is a high honor to make this gift and contribution! The stories of military children and families are sometimes hard to share, but they are healing to countless sufferers of the nagging effects of inter-generational post traumatic stress (PTS).
“We [often] woke up in the middle of the night to Dad’s nightmares reliving his combat experiences in the South Pacific while serving in the US Navy in WWII. My parents would fight well into the evening hours making it difficult to go to sleep. Mom did all she could do to just get through each day. We siblings became a secondary priority, and were mostly neglected, except we always had food on the table.
…School was one of the only escapes during the day. We felt isolated and ashamed like we were always doing something bad or looked stupid to others. There was little or no encouragement or support at home for our schoolwork because of the challenges of our parents in dealing with their own issues. We didn’t talk about our experiences at home to other kids for fear of the consequences of our parents finding out.
We lied to teachers and coaches when they asked questions concerning our own sad and angry behaviors. We moved often so were unable to make lasting friendships that made a difference…”
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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