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Scott Simpson, United States Army Family Member

The feeling of comfort and safety has an enormous impact on what home is to some people. Home is not just a place of safety, but for some it is the cultural background, the experiences of life, and a place to return to and return to that feeling. A family is built upon morals and values that coincide with what home is.

Culture impacts many people’s lives and where they call home. Culture is the foundation for everything people are and do as a society. The upbringing and cultural background influences what a person considers home. The once and still great philosopher Confucius once said, “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.” This quote was written in 500BC and it still pertains to culture and society to date, even more so with everything that is going on in cultural changes in America. Alternatively the thought of home being a country as a whole is not typically what comes to mind when thinking of home. “The land of the free and home of the brave” is a line from the American National Anthem. In this very line it uses the word home, and the feeling of home is projected through these words. The values and morals in America evolve greatly around culture. For instance, look at all of the holidays. America has Christmas, which is a religious holiday but still people get work off for this holiday regardless of religious belief. Other holidays include Black History Month, St. Patrick’s day, July 4th, and Thanksgiving. All of these holidays have been influenced by culture in some way shape or form. The values of these holidays is that the American culture recognizes that it has a very diverse culture. Celebrating almost every culture so that anybody from anywhere may feel at home in America. The morals on the other hand, come with the values that uphold these holidays. Making sure veterans are praised and remembered, and showing love for other cultural beliefs. The values and morals that come with these holidays proves to be an influence on what home is for people. This also greatly determines how good or bad some experiences may be for people with in America.

The experience of being in another country or even just the experience of being in another state has a large influence on the ideals of home for some people. For example, being born and raised on the beach does not mean that particular individual likes the beach, but how would someone know that if they have not been anywhere else or experienced anything else. The experience of someone’s personal encounters is what makes home what it is. It might not be a specific place or even a house, but can be anything from entire state to the road people drive on to just drive. The experience of new traditions, climate changes, economic status, and interactions with individuals can shape what some call home. If the experience is bad generally most wouldn’t consider ever doing it again. The same goes for defining what home is to people. Whether or not the climate is to hot or too cold or the people are rude and mean or how the education levels are not as good all play into what people consider home. People on a day to day bases choose what home is and do not even realize it. The decisions made when people move anywhere or do anything all come down to these minute details, and everybody makes these decisions whether or not they are aware of it. This very insightful quote from Maya Angelou explains the purpose of home for many people “I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” This quote not only pertains to practically every human being but it gives a lot of people the feeling of comfort no matter where they end up. This quote is very reassuring for military and federal personnel. A lot of the military and federal jobs move people around constantly and the meaning of home for these individuals becomes a whole new meaning for them.

The American military has existed since the start of America and military families have been essential to the culture and society of America since the beginning. Military families move around on a consistent bases and also can leave the country at times. The military men and women and their families have very different opinions on what home is, but the one thing that they have in common is family. The houses they live in do not typically matter to them, but more so the people around them that make it home. Military families usually have more than one home and this quote by Muhammad Ali is a fantastic expression of having multiple homes” I’m more at home with my log cabins than I am in my house in Cherry Hill.” The quote is Muhammad’s personal houses, but it also expresses that no matter how big or how nice the house may be it is only as good as people make it. This is a great quote for a lot military families because they do move around a lot and they have multiple homes, but the houses are only as good as the people in them.

The families of military men and women deal with a lot of inconveniences. For example, the military men and women travel all the time and can be away from home for extended periods of time. Also they can be deployed at any time for any reason and can be gone for up to years at a time. The military families know this and that is why family is so important to them, because not only can they lose a family member at any time but also because family is precious. Home for some military men and women is simply the military. People feel at home when they are most comfortable, and for some people the most comfortable and safe place might not be a house, or any tangible item. The feeling of belonging and freedom of judgment is what home is for military families. Anna Quindlen says, “There was a time when where you lived often was where you worked….” and it is a great representation of how work can also be home not only for the military but for anybody. The military work force is considered home to many individuals from many different cultures. The military is home to many and a family to most. These individuals work and fight for America’s freedom and for people to have a home.

Home is not only defined as a house or city, but can be anything to anyone. The ideals, morals, and values make “home where the heart is.” The experiences define who people are and also what they consider home. Whether that be from the culture that they grew up loving or the job they took like the military every day to live a happy life. One thing everybody has in common when talking about home is family, safety and happiness. Home does not have one definition but if it did it would be eating pizza on a couch watching Family Feud with your family, and that does not sound too bad does it?

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