When Purple Means More Than Panther Pride


photo submitted by Kat Moore

With April being known as “Military Child Month,” get to know and understand the unique experiences had by students with parents in the armed forces.

The Department of Defense observes April as the Month of the Military Child, with the month-long campaign aiming to raise awareness and provide support to children whose parent(s) serve in the military. There are also different programs and means of support made available to military children during the month as well. 

The members of the military serve in different ways around the world, but there are different elements of life that can be difficult for their children as well. The reality of being a military child comes with a distinctive set of challenges, from frequent moves to new locations, adapting to new schools and communities, and coping with the absence of a parent who may be frequently deployed. There are an estimated 1.6 million military children in the world that we celebrate during the month of April, two of them at Potomac Falls spoke about their experience. 

Kat Moore, a junior at Potomac Falls, has a mom who has served for over 18 years in the United States Public Health Service and is currently an Officer holding the rank of CAPT (O-6). “She works under the direction of the United States Surgeon General, she has served in many different federal agencies providing public health to vulnerable/underserved populations,” said Moore. 

Moore has experienced their mom being sent on last minute deployments for multiple months at a time to different natural disasters and health emergencies. Moore’s mom has been deployed to different natural disasters in the U.S., but she has also responded to infectious disease outbreaks, including the Ebola Outbreak in Liberia, West Africa in 2015. Moore stated that this deployment in particular was a big adjustment because of the amount of time that their mom was in Africa. 

Moore has not been particularly affected by whole family moves. “I did not have to move as much as my older sisters, but we moved for her to work in Washington DC when I was 4 from Texas. I have been lucky that my mom has been able to stay stationed in the capital region,” said Moore.

Due to Moore’s mothers expertise in public health, they were able to get a unique understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. “ I felt I had a more clear understanding of what was occuring,” said Moore. Another element of being a child of a parent in the military is that sometimes Moore is unable to express their own political views due to their moms position in the government. 

Another benefit that Moore appreciates about being a child of the military is the ability to visit different bases around the world and the specialized scholarships provided to these children. 

Elizabeth Webb, a sophomore at Potomac Falls, has a father who serves in the Army as a staff sergeant, and for most of her life her father was a member of the National Guard. Webb has had to deal with one of her dads deployments when she was 13 years old, during a time when she was also dealing with her mother being sick. “I realized [that there were different things I had to deal with] more when I was 13, because the other deployments that my dad was on happened when I was a toddler,” said Webb.

Being a child of someone in the armed services has given Webb a more understanding perspective on those who serve. “I think that I am able to understand more of how deployments and work affect people in the military and those around them,” said Webb. 

Although Webb did not move around as much as other children who have parents on active duty, she was homeschooled until the 2021-2022 school year, so that education was not a factor that was impacted by her fathers service and the possibility of having to relocate. 

Webb believes that having a father who serves in the armed forces makes her feel more secure, saying “I think that in situations that were a lot more dangerous my dad was able to protect us better, and I am extremely grateful for that.”

One difficulty that Webb has had growing up is facing the reality of feeling scared about her fathers line of work. “I wish that people would see how the children look at the world with a parent serving, because you are scared with mom or dad gone trying to protect you and everyone else in your country,” said Webb. Webb had different talks with her father that eased this anxiousness. “I think that people should think more like the child, because having your parent/s leave to risk dying to save people is really scary,” added Webb.

Growing up and watching her father serve in the Armed forces has given Webb an unwavering respect for all those who do, as well as their families who endure the same sacrifices as her. She has also looked into going into the armed services herself. 

Webbs father’s continued service stemmed from him wanting to be able to pay for her own and her sister’s college education. “I am immensely grateful since I want to be a nurse and school will cost a lot,” said Webb.

Purple Up! Day, the day chosen by the Military Interstate Children’s Compact Commission will be celebrated today, Apr. 9, across the United States and recognizes the sacrifice made by children of the military. Potomac Falls is also recognizing Purple Up! Day by encouraging the student body to wear purple in order to show their support.