If your parent served in the military, you earned the title of 'military brat' automatically. Children raised in military families move frequently on short notice, saying good-bye to old friends and making new friends.
Military brats never know when a parent will be deployed to a war zone, but they always know that their military parent is in harm's way to protect and preserve freedom.
The BratPin was created to honor and commemorate military brats for their support role. The pins were created by Robert F. Holliker, Jr., a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel.
"I myself lived in four states and three countries following my dad, a career Air Force officer, until I completed high school," states Holliker.
"My own children lived in New Jersey, Arkansas, Utah, Oklahoma, Australia, Texas and Ohio by the time they graduated high school," says Holliker. "Looking back, I realized the countless sacrifices my kids made for my career, and that I had never taken the time to either recognize them or thank them for their service."
Hollker contacted his congressmen in 2009 in an attempt to create a pin in honor of military brats. On Holliker's urging, U.S. Representative Bob Latta authored "HR 5355: Children of Military Service Members Commemorative Lapel Pin Act" in 2010.
Although the motion was reintroduced two more times, it remains in committee. Undeterred, Holliker decided to proceed on his own to design a pin to honor military brats.
Holliker wanted a pin that would be simple and elegant, recognized by military brats and would show their pride in their military heritage.
Holliker created a nonprofit organization to promote and distribute the pins. Uncertain at first how to proceed with the design of the pin, Holliker learned that the dandelion is the icon of military brats.
Like dandelions, military brats bloom anywhere they are planted. Like the seeds from the dandelion, military brats are scattered to the winds.
Holliker joined several Facebook groups for military brats and read this piece by an anonymous author in a group he had joined:
"The official flower of the military child is the dandelion. Why? The plant puts down roots almost anywhere, and it's almost impossible to destroy. It's an unpretentious plant, yet good looking. It's a survivor in a broad range of climates. Military children bloom everywhere the wind carries them. They are hardy and upright. Their roots are strong, cultivated deeply in the culture of the military, planted swiftly and surely. They're ready to fly in the breezes that take them to new adventures, new lands and new friends.
Experts say that military children are well-rounded, culturally aware, tolerant and extremely resilient. Military children have learned from an early age that home is where their hearts are, that a good friend can be found in every corner of the world and in every color, and that education doesn't only come from school. They live history. They learn that to survive means to adapt, that the door that closes one chapter of their life opens to a new and exciting adventure full of new friends and new experiences."
Holliker asked other military brats in his groups about his idea and received support and advice. One military brat suggested incorporating the design of dog tags, the informal name for identification tags worn by military personnel, into the pin.
BratPins and BratPin pendants can be ordered at the BratPin website link. The border of both items are designed to look like dog tags.
The cost is $7.50 for the BratPin and $10 for the BratPin pendant. Holliker pledges that the net proceeds of BratPin sales will be distributed to other nonprofit organizations serving and supporting children of military personnel.
If you are a military brat like me, the BratPin is for you. If you are a member of the military or a military spouse, the BratPin is a great way to honor your children for supporting your service to our country.