1. You’ve lived in at least two countries and five states.
2. You’re an expert packer.
3. Everyone older than you is either “Sir” or “Ma’am.” No exceptions.
4. The four elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools you attended all had the same mascot: The Golden Knights.
5. You said things like “we live on the economy” as a nine year old.
6. You know what “on the economy” means.
7. You know not to go to the Commissary in the morning. That’s practically social hour for retirees.
8. You’ve understood basic foreign affairs since you can remember.
9. You knew how to correctly pronounce “Colonel” at the age of four.
10. Guns don’t scare you. Neither does war paint.
11. You never thought it was weird that you grew up inside a literal cage.
12. Wait. Every theatre doesn’t play The National Anthem before the movie starts? You serious, Clark?
13. At one point or another, your only source of communication with a deployed parent has been handwritten letters.
14. In school, you had fire drills and tornado drills…and you also prepared for terrorist attacks.
15. Your younger brother was once told that he was the “man of the house” whenever your dad was deployed. It’s a title he still takes all too seriously.
16. You’re accustomed to seeing every house in a neighborhood donning a yellow ribbon.
17. You’ve been to too many funerals.
18. There’s a picture of you as a baby attempting to walk in combat boots.
19. You really enjoyed MREs as a kid.
20. You didn’t understand your parent’s career choice as a kid. You respect the hell out of them for it now.
21. You put Tabasco on everything.
22. Letters from Home by John Michael Montgomery makes you cry. As does American Soldier by Toby Keith.
23. Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue makes you want to kick in a door and sucker punch a terrorist.
24. You’ve had a lot of sleepless nights.
25. Your childhood dream was to drive a tank.
26. Career day at your on-base school was really boring.
27. Your teacher was also your neighbor, and her husband just happened to serve under your parent. There was no escape.
28. You were trained to look under your car for bombs. No seriously.
29. You hung out at the bowling alley.
30. You don’t remember a holiday meal that didn’t involve at least three single soldiers being invited over to your house.
31. You had your Sponsor’s Social memorized before your own.
32. Regardless of whether you’re a girl or a boy, you had at least one G.I. Joe as a child.
33. You never bothered to memorize your home telephone number. It changed too frequently for you to keep up.
34. Screw Blockbuster, you rented movies at the Shoppette.
35. You were a fucking pro at using calling cards when you lived overseas.
36. You refer to non-work clothes as “civvies.”
37. You know what Zero Dark Thirty means in reference to time.
38. You or one of your siblings is a product of the post Desert Storm baby boom.
39. One word: TRICARE.
40. The Retreat plays at 1700. Stop what you’re doing and face the nearest flag.
41. You know what birth control glasses are.
42. You know the difference between Hooah and Oorah.
43. Your family owns at least one pair of baby fatigues.
44. It wasn’t alarming to see guys jump out of airplanes.
45. Your little league team name was the Apaches. The opposing teams were the Chinooks, the Black Hawks, and the Little Birds.
46. You’re still mad at your mom for making you wear jeans she bought at the PX/BX.
47. You like the Fourth of July more than your birthday.
48. You would sooner lose your fake ID than your military ID. The paperwork’s a real bitch.
49. Every man and woman in uniform has had your respect since birth.
50. You wouldn’t trade your childhood for a damn thing.