Saturday, December 27, 2014

Brats Story-time, a call to Assembly

'Bat-outa-Hell II' ,Martin B-26 Marauder that flew with the 387th BG, 557th BS.
"If  they would only keep their damned hands off of it."- Ira S. Godwin LTCOL (RET)

Once upon a time, way back in the day when "Brats: The BratPin" was a struggling rock star and consisted of nothing more than elaborate design requests for Brat jewelry and a fistful of Veteran Trading Cards, there lived a wee group of fans of Pat Conroy who was one of the rare deities of an earlier Bratdom era. Before The Internet, he wrote a book about the life and times of a military family that later became a well-known Hollywood film. He  prefaced a book about growing up as a Brat in US Fortresses, by Mary Edwards Wertch noting that “We are an undiscovered nation living invisibly in the body politic of this country,” and he went on to elaborate, “We’d never stopped to honor ourselves, out loud, for our understanding service to America.”

Later, Donna Musil made it so we could recognize this invisibility with her "BRATS: Our Journey Home" documentary and today we have an abundance of Brat Projects: UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show, Our Own Private Battlefield, BRATS Workshops, BRATS Clubs, Military Kid Art Camp, BRATS & Race, and  Military Brat Library, to name a few.

It was all over except for the dancing in the streets. Now we could spread our recognition across the land, over the seas and around the world.

But that never happened. Knowing that Brats would never rename themselves, several ignorant military organizations decided to impose their visceral reactions to the four letter word Brat upon us, and chose to encourage a civilian to create a new term for Brat and thus, OPERATION CHAMPS was constructed. Over the years the military organizations deliberately built the status of OPERATION CHAMPS in a bald faced attempt to pay no heed to the true community. 

One brisk autumn day, the small group of Conroy fans in "Brats: The BratPin"  group took notice of an article in a USAA webzine that proffered an interview with the creator of  OPERATION  CHAMPS. The dialogue disturbed many Brats; the idea that someone, a civilian, would dare to rename and re-brand them by using their SCHOOLS and their LITTLEST Brat bothers and Brat sisters, was not only reprehensible, it was unacceptable.

Outrage swelled across the many rivers and valleys of Facebook Brat groups.  As calls to rally came forth, it was suggested, by the now besieged rocker, that we should have a group and we shall name it "BRATS: Stolen Valor - Stolen Identity," (BSVSI).

Within this same call to Assemble, others stood up similar groups and they all began to cross support each other.

Lady Donna and her colleagues were taken by surprise. They looked up from their many worthwhile and meaningful projects that languished because they had been suppressed by the military organizations who remain adamant about NOT  using the word “brat” in their literature, and said, “Wait! We cannot splinter, we will spread too thin!” and “Stop! This will reinvent the wheel!”

Nevertheless, the buglers had already sounded the call to Assemble.  Groups materialized, keyboards were taken up and they flew to Assembly like Brats out of Hell.

Groups in the Assemblage swelled into the thousands.  In twenty-four hours, the BSVSI Brats numbered over a thousand; in three weeks, there were three times more.

Like all Brats, Lady Donna reacted strongly to the news about the co-opting of the Brat name and her hard work. For many weeks she remained an overwhelmed observer of these events. Sometime during the genesis of the groups, she found herself swept into them by well meaning supporters and some of the group creators made her an administrator without the courtesy of asking her!

Eventually, the leaders of "Brats Without Borders" caught up with the flocks of Brats and, as they have been doing for decades, reassured them of their heritage, offering sage advice and support. 

Thus is the story of the strange phenomenon of the creation of  BRATS: Stolen Valor - Stolen Identity and tandem groups.

- Eyewitness testimony by BSVSI creator, Debbie Godwin Adams.

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