In the footsteps of giants: The journey of military children

By Col. Everett Bud LacroixApril 24, 2024

In the Footsteps of Giants: The Journey of Military Children
U.S. Army Maj. Everett (Bud) Lacroix is warmly embraced by his two military children after an emotional return from a deployment with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division in Aug. 2013. This deployment was Lacroix's third of five deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Lacroix currently works as the support operations officer for the 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany. (Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Col. Everett (Bud) Lacroix) VIEW ORIGINAL

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Every year, April shines a spotlight on a special group of young heroes in our military community — our military children. This month, known as the Month of the Military Child, is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible resilience, adaptability and unwavering spirit of these extraordinary young individuals. Having walked this path as a military child myself and now the parent of two military teenagers navigating this life, I've been on both sides of this unique experience.

Life in a military family is a mosaic of hellos and goodbyes, a series of new beginnings. My son, with his quiet strength and resilience, has taught me the art of viewing each move as an opportunity rather than a setback. From navigating the challenges of settling into new communities to embracing new cultures during our overseas postings, he's shown me that adaptability is not just about getting by but about thriving. His ability to step into the unknown, to help out without being asked, and to dive into new experiences with an open heart has been nothing short of inspiring. His journey is a reminder that embracing change with a positive mindset can transform potential obstacles into pathways of growth and discovery.

My daughter's path through the ever-changing landscapes of military life has been a testament to the power of connections. Moving from one place to another, she has mastered the art of turning new environments into homes filled with friends and laughter. Watching her approach each new school, and now college, with a blend of optimism and bravery has been a profound lesson in the importance of building relationships. Her ability to find common ground with those around her, to create bonds that withstand the test of time and distance, speaks volumes about the resilience and adaptability that military life fosters. Her story is a vivid illustration that, in a world where change is the only constant, the connections we make are our most precious anchor.

The life of a military child is punctuated by moments of uncertainty — times when a parent is deployed, leaving a void that's felt deeply. Yet, it is within these moments that the true strength of military children comes to the forefront. My children have navigated the emotional rollercoaster of deployments with a grace that contradicts their years, supporting one another and finding strength in the face of separation. Their resilience, their ability to understand and cope with complex emotions, has not only drawn us closer as a family but has also equipped them with an emotional intelligence that will serve them well in all walks of life. Their experiences remind us that it's not just the visible battles that shape a warrior; the unseen struggles are just as defining.

One of the most remarkable traits I've observed in my children is their unbreakable spirit— their ability to find joy and laughter, even when the going gets tough. Their laughter, infectious and bright, has often been the best medicine for our family during challenging times. This ability to find light in the darkest of times, to laugh and find joy in the smallest of moments, is perhaps one of the greatest lessons military life has to offer. It teaches us that no matter what challenges we may face, maintaining a sense of humor and a positive outlook can make all the difference.

As we celebrate the Month of the Military Child, let's take a moment to reflect on the extraordinary journey of these young heroes. Their lives, marked by unique challenges, are a testament to the strength, adaptability and spirit that define the military community. The stories of my own children — of embracing change, building lasting connections, navigating emotional hardships and finding joy in every situation — are but a glimpse into the incredible resilience and spirit of all military children. Let us honor their journey, learn from their experiences and carry forward their legacy of resilience, adaptability and unbreakable joy.

In doing so, we not only celebrate these young heroes but also inspire a brighter path for all who walk in the footsteps of giants.