At the 60th Reunion of the United States Military Academy, a booklet was assembled to pay tribute to the wives and families of the career West Point Alumni of the Class of 1958. Since my Mom passed away in 2008, my Dad’s wife asked me to contribute to the booklet on behalf of the Army years.
The Army Life
As Robert Harry Julian and Cynthia Simecek Julian’s first born, I am honored to remember my parents’ roles during Dad’s twenty-year Army career. Growing up as an Army brat meant living in fourteen places the first fourteen years of my life. I was almost eight years old before I realized that my life was very different than others my age.
Our Mom Cynthia was an amazing Army wife and mother, taking on the many duties the role of Officers wife required, moving our family around the US and Europe and making sure my brothers and I fully experienced the cultures and geography that this life afforded us. We toured Great Britain; watched the Edinburgh Military Tattoo; learned to ski in Garmische; wandered the Acropolis; got lost in the Louvre; and traveled behind the Iron Curtain to West Berlin. The images of the Dachau concentration camps and the Berlin Wall are emblazoned in my ten-year-old memory. While at the time moving days were quite dramatic as it was always hard to leave my friends (my parents nicknamed me “Sarah Heartburn”), these experiences, with Mom and Dad’s emphasis on showing and teaching us all they could, are among my greatest treasures.
Not only did my loving, handsome and successful father provide an incredible example of Duty, Honor, Country; a terrific work ethic and unconditional love…he made me aspire to follow in his footsteps of career Army officer years before women were being accepted into West Point. To this day, over 40 years later, I can still recite much of the “Plebe Poop.” While ultimately that was not to be, my life as the daughter of LTC Robert H. Julian, US Army has shaped the person I am and the successes I have had. The ability to embrace change, adapt to new circumstances, communicate, treat challenges as opportunities, and the belief that I could achieve just about anything I put my mind to I owe to my parents and my life as an Army brat.
Thanks Mom and Dad… you showed me how to succeed through challenges of both Army and civilian life, you unwaveringly supported us in all of our endeavors and most of all taught us the meaning of unconditional love. I am eternally grateful. You are my heroes.