I am an Air Force BRAT, and I am proud of it. I am not using the term BRAT in an antagonistic way, it is a truly endearing term used by military people. If you are a child of military personal, you are known as a BRAT. I actually found information on Wikipedia. I encourage you to read it.
This past weekend I was reunited with several of my friends that I went to school with in Germany. I went to Hahn High School at Hahn Air Force Base located in the Rhein-Hunsrück district of Rhineland-Palatinate in west-central Germany. I will have to say, those were some of the best years of my life. The friendships that were formed there will never be broken. It is a relationship that most people will never be able to understand.
The High School was opened in 1976, and we arrived in Germany in 1977. The school year was 1977-1978, and I was in the 8th grade. Over there, the High School was 7th – 12th grade. I thought I was a big dog now. I was hanging with the big kids! And at least I was not an ankle biter! (I guess you had to be there to understand that term.) There were 611 students in the entire school. My graduating class here in Montgomery was a total of 756.
In 1992, we had a reunion in Dallas, Texas and over 200 of the Hahnonians (as I like to call us) showed up. I think I had a total of four hours of sleep that whole weekend. I didn’t want to miss a thing and we all stayed up talking for hours. All of us picked up where we left off when we were sent back to the states. We have a bond that will never end. There have been several reunions since then, most of them mini, kind of spur of the moment get togethers, and I have missed them all, until now. I will see to it that I do not miss another one.
The friendships that are formed there can not be explained or understood by outsiders. There is a closeness and a bond that can not be broken. I do not know of one person that wanted to leave Hahn. I kicked and screamed the whole way to Germany, and I cried like a baby when we left. I finished my last two years in a high school that was not particularly friendly to outsiders. The kids from Hahn are my family.
I left Germany June 24, 1980 but, my heart stayed. This past weekend I met the people that came behind me, and they feel the same about the closeness and family kind of spirit as I do. The people from Hahn are family, whether you went to school with them, or they came after you left and you are finding them on facebook. Once again, thank you facebook!
The base closed in 1993, and the land was returned to the Germans. We did not live on base, we lived on the economy in a village called Morbach. Even though I did not get to hang with my friends on the weekends and get in all the trouble they did, I am still extremely lucky to be able to say I was there. It is something most people will never be able to experience, and I consider myself extremely blessed. I will one day return to Germany and all the other countries I was fortunate enough to see. Hahn is no longer there but, I was a part of the history, and I thank you!
As I have said, they were some of the best years of my life, but the best has yet to come. And taking the words from Sister Sledge, WE ARE FAMILY. GO HAWKS!