It’s Time to “Purple Up” for Military Kids

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Malik and Markell Thomas are proud that their dad is a military man.

“He’s fighting for our life, our country,” Malik said in an interview with Macon, Georgia, TV station WMAZ.

But being a military kid is not always easy.

“Military kids have to move to different places,” said Teresa Orellana, a sixth-grader at Fort Rucker Elementary School in Fort Rucker, Alabama, in an interview with the Southeast Sun newspaper.  “Their father and mother are deployed.  So they miss out on their family.”

(A “deployment” is when the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines sends you overseas for several months – or longer.  Kids don’t get to go along.)

“(And) once you move, you will miss your friends,” fellow sixth-grader Ryan Buchanan told Sun reporter Ariana Diaz.  “It’s happened to me.  And I know how it feels.”

The Armed Forces recognizes that military kids have to make sacrifices other kids don’t have to make.

So every April, they honor military kids for making those sacrifices.

April has been designated as “Month of the Military Child.”

And on Monday, April 18th, schools around the country held a special celebration called “Purple Up” Day to recognize them.

At Malik and Markell’s school – Rice Elementary in Macon – just about every kid reportedly wore purple that day, to show their support.

And at Fort Gordon, in Augusta, Georgia, the kids at Freedom Park School released 200 purple balloons, according to the Fort Gordon Signal newspaper.

(Purple is the color of the four branches of the US Armed Forces, according to the Signal.)

Not everybody had negative things to say about being a military kid.

“I like making new friends,” said Trinity Torgerson, a Freedom Park eighth-grader, when asked about how it feels to have to move from base to base.

(A base is basically another word for a military fort.)

But on the flip side, every move means more friends left behind.

“I have a best friend in Fort Hood, Texas,” Ryan told the Sun.  “I still get to talk to him on the phone.  But it makes my heart sad because I can’t see him all the time.”

At Fort Rucker Elementary, Ryan and has classmates have reportedly taken part in a full month of activities.

According to the Sun, the kids created their own “Flat Brats” based on the book “Flat Stanley.”

The idea is that when a parent has to go overseas, he or she can take the “Flat Brat” along, to remind them who’s waiting back home.

“It feels good to know they’ll have it, because then they’ll know that you’re always there,” Fort Rucker fourth-grader Ruby Moore told Diaz.

The commander at Fort Gordon wanted to make sure the kids there know he recognizes the sacrifices they make.

“They have learned from an early age that home is where their hearts are (and) that a good friend can be found in every corner of the world and in every color,” said Colonel Robert Barker, according to the Signal.  “(They) turn every challenge into new opportunities.

“On behalf of all the men and women of the Fort Gordon community,” he added, “I say a sincere ‘thank you,’ for your bravery, enthusiasm and pride for your parents, as they defend our great nation.”