BRATS: Our Journey Home A Donna Musil Film Featuring Narration and Music by Kris Kristofferson
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It feels good to be a brat

Brian Dukes

I once wrote a poem about being a military brat.

Compared to documentary director Donna Musilís opus, ďBrats: Our Journey Home,Ē my words were rubbish.

Musil debuted her film Tuesday at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum with a free public viewing.

I donít think Iíve ever had my existence so articulately encapsulated within 90 minutes. Musilís film was a captivating and poignant look at the lives of military brats ó the good, the bad and the ugly.

Her film really resonated with me, and judging by the crowdís reaction, they felt the same.

Then again, the material was familiar    I lived it, after all.

As I sat between two spouses of brats, the images rekindled memories long dormant within the attic of my mind.

The film was accurate in its depiction of the lives of military brats ó a must for documentaries.

There were some differences, of course    I, for example, didnít have half of the dysfunction in my family as some of the brats that were interviewed    And I didnít end up with crippling issues of fatherly abandonment.

Maybe it was because my dad was as excellent a father as he was a soldier.

Thatís not to say he was without quirks    Weíre talking about a guy who did headstands while listening to The Beatles.

Sorry, Pops, but you were an odd duck, which explains more about me than Iím ready to admit.

But I thank you, anyway.

Thank you for 28 years of service to this country    Thank you for moving me around the world    Thank you for teaching me to be self-reliant and to make (and re-make) friends quickly.

I wouldnít trade my brat existence for any other    Though, in all fairness, mom shouldered the greatest burden    (Thanks, Mom.)

I enjoyed Musilís film and would recommend it to brats and non-brats    Itís on sale in the museumís gift shop.

There was a Q & A after the film with Musil, but true to form, I didnít attend.

I had already been in one place for too long.

Staff writer Brian Dukes can be reached at or 323-4848 ext. 411.
The first documentary about growing up military.