Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Proud to be a brat

I grew up as an Army brat (dependent). My late father spent almost 30 years in the Army, having joined during the Korean War.

For an Army brat, we didn't move around too much. Most of my friends moved every two years or so. Daddy just liked being in one place. So he was in Japan for about eight years, then we spent about seven years in Fort Huachuca, Ariz. He spent one year in Vietnam, getting back to Sierra Vista in 1966. Sierra Vista is the equivalent to Columbus, though much, much smaller.

We moved to Okinawa for two years, then we were here at Fort Benning from 1970 on. Actually, Daddy went to Korea in 1973-75 and then he got stationed to Fort Polk, La., before retiring and moving back to Columbus.

I started working here at the Ledger-Enquirer in 1975, and have been here ever since. One of my early jobs was the editor of the Green Sheet, which later became the TV Book.

So I knew all of the media folks in radio and television. One of them was Dena Musil, who did some acting at the Springer Opera House. I don't know why she quit the stage. And I don't know why she quit television. She was the host of WTVM 9's morning show and she was quite good.

Years later, she told me about her daughter, Donna, who was making films. A couple of years ago, Donna and I started corresponding via e-mails. It turned out she was making a documentary called "Brats: Our Journey Home."

It's about military dependents growing up overseas and how sometimes we would struggle trying to fit in once we were back in the States.

Among the people in the film are Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf author Mary Edwards Wertsch. Somehow, Donna got singer/songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson to narrate the documentary.

She found out in researching the film that there are some pretty well known brats: Jessica Alba, Robert Duvall, Sen. John McCain and Shaquille O'Neal.

It took Donna seven years to make the movie.

We get a chance to see it at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Columbus State University Cunningham Center for Leadership Development. There's a reception at 6 p.m.

The host is retired Gen. Jerry White, the CEO of the National Infantry Association Foundation.

Donna will conduct a question-and-answer session after the screening.

It's free.

I saw the movie about a year ago, and it's very, very good.

I highly recommend that you see it. I'll be there.

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