Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center in Tijeras Wins 2020 AASLH Award of Excellence

For Immediate Release


Circe Olson Woessner

546 B State Highway 333

Tijeras, NM 87059

Bethany Hawkins



Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center in Tijeras Wins 2020 AASLH Award of Excellence 

NASHVILLE, TN—May 2020—The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) proudly announces that the Museum of the American Military Family is the recipient of an Award of Excellence for  Addiction/ Recovery: Military Families Cope—an Experiential Exhibit and Ongoing Workshops The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 75th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history.  

This is the third AASLH award in as many years for the museum, following up on its 2018 Albert B. Corey Prize, and its 2019 Award of Excellence. All  awards are given for programs and projects of merit. 

The 2020 award recognizes the museum’s ongoing programming focusing on  addiction and recovery.  The exhibit, a collaboration between the VA hospital and New Mexico state resources provides answers to questions such as “Why Does Addiction Happen,” “What Treatments Work,” “How Can I Help”, and “How I Should Respond to an Overdose.” 

In 2019, thanks to a NM ARTS grant, military brat and artist Kelly Barnes came to New Mexico from the East Coast to conduct face-to-face workshops at the museum, and participants created a series of decorated ACU pants to accompany the exhibit, and recently, Tacoma, Washington, Poet Laureate and military spouse Abby E. Murray created a series of poetry workshops for the museum’s podcast site. 

This year, AASLH is proud to confer fifty-seven national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, and publications. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history.  The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history.

From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all people. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and maintains numerous affinity communities and committees serving a broad range of constituents across the historical community. The association also sponsors an annual meeting, regional and national training in-person workshops, and online training.


Memorial Day Ceremonies Canceled at Three New Mexico Sites

The New Mexico Department of Veterans Services

Michelle Lujan Grisham


Judy M. Griego

Cabinet Secretary


Ray Seva

Public Information Officer
New Mexico Department of Veterans Services

(505) 827-6352-office

(505) 362-6089-mobile

Memorial Day Ceremonies Canceled at 3 Sites

State-run veterans’ cemeteries to remain open

SANTA FE – The Department of Veterans Services (DVS) has canceled Memorial Day ceremonies at three of its sites due to continuing COVID-19 restrictions.

The canceled ceremonies were to be held May 25 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire, the Fort Stanton State Veterans Cemetery, and the Gallup State Veterans Cemetery.

The Fort Stanton and Gallup State Veterans cemeteries will be open for normal gravesite visitation during regular 8 a.m.-5 p.m. business hours. Cemetery staff will place miniature American flags at each gravesite on Friday, May 22. On May 25, full-size flags will be flown at half-staff throughout the day. The administrative offices will be closed.   

Cemetery staff wearing personal protective equipment will regulate traffic flow to one-way-in, one-way-out, and the cemeteries will be limited to 20 percent capacity at all times to comply with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the New Mexico Department of Health.

Gravesite visitors will be asked to limit group size to no more than five people, and to observe a 6-foot social distancing within the group.  

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire will remain closed, but American flags will fly at half-staff throughout the day at the memorial and along the road to the facility.

“DVS recognizes the importance of Memorial Day as the day to honor service members who gave their lives while in service to our country, but the safety of DVS staff and the public is of utmost importance,” said DVS Secretary Judy Griego. “I hope veterans and their families understand the reasons behind the implementation of these safety precautions for Memorial Day.”



Ray Seva

Public Information Officer,
New Mexico Department of Veterans Services

(505) 827-6352-office

April is the Month of the Military Child

Circe Olson Woessner

When service members join the military, both they and their families embark on an unconventional lifestyle—one full of opportunity, but also of sacrifice, as part of that service to America. 

Military kids live with the constant reminder that their parent (or parents) could go off to war or be called up to respond to a national emergency at any time. They experience loss on a regular basis: their parent missing milestones such as birthdays, graduations or family holidays; friends moving away or events being cancelled due an unexpected TDY or alert. 

Military kids move a lot. My own Army family moved 18 times in 20 years; our boys grew up in Germany, Puerto Rico and on several installations across the United States. They changed schools frequently—even within the school year—and were  constantly saying goodbye to classmates and friends. They rarely saw their grandparents or cousins.

This fluid lifestyle has profound impact on military kids’ lives, and influences the way they think, feel and behave. While they are unique individuals, they all share common childhood experiences such as extreme mobility, frequent absence of the military parent and segregation from the civilian community. Some kids embrace the life, and wax nostalgic in later years; some grow up and join the military or federal service and others walk away as soon as they can and never look back. 

In 1986, Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger established April as the “Month of the Military Child,” recognizing U.S. military children ranging in age from infant to 18 years old, who have one or both parents serving in the armed forces. Since then, school districts, military installations and the commissary and exchange systems honor military children during the month of April. 

A Brief Introduction into Military Brat Culture


While military children go by many nicknames, the term “brat” has been around a long time and is the most widely accepted.  

According to Wikipedia, “the origin of the term ‘military brat’ is unknown. There is some evidence that it dates back hundreds of years into the British Empire, and originally stood for ‘British Regiment Attached Traveler’. However, acronyms are a product of the 20th century and all attempts to trace this theory have failed to find a legitimate source.”

No matter where the word originated, many military children have embraced the term, although in recent years, there have been other alternatives proposed. But an argument against those alternatives is that when military children grow up, they are no longer “military children” or “mil kids,” so “brat” is timeless. 

Misty Corrales, who, along with her husband Jon, designed the first National Brats Day logo says, “Some people view [brat] as derogatory or insulting. How can it be when our culture identifies with it and embraces it? At its most basic translation, ‘brat’ merely means ‘child of’. Military brats are children of the military. But we grow up. We’re not always children. And trust me, we’re not spoiled.

Military Brat ID Seal founder, Terrill Ann Major agrees, “We embrace a unique military subculture and heritage all our own.” 

Major recognized the need to document that unique heritage, and with the input of hundreds of fellow brats, designed the Military Brat ID Seal. The Brat Seal has “Pluribus Locis Nostrum” as part of the design, which translates to “many places are home” which truly reflects brat heritage, past, present and future.  

The Dandelion

In 1998, a grassroots movement online chose the dandelion as the “Official Military Brat Flower.”

“The [dandelion] puts down roots almost anywhere. It is almost impossible to get rid of…It’s a survivor in a broad range of climates… This just illustrates my motto, which is ‘bloom where you’re planted’.”–—-Anne Christopherson

And so, the dandelion was adopted. Over the years, dandelions have cropped up on pins, bumper stickers, tee shirts and insignia—instantly identifying military children to each other.

 “Purple Up”

Purple symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combination of Army green, Marine red, and Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force blue.  During the month of April, people are encouraged to wear purple to show support to military children. 


“Children of the world, blown to all corners of the world, we bloom anywhere!”

National Military Brats Day 

In 2016, a group of adult military brats through another grass-roots movement on social media partnered to make April 30 the official National Military Brats Day. 

Why April 30th?

Through discussions, participants agreed that April 30, the last day of the month honoring military children, would be most meaningful to adult brats. It would symbolize the time many of them– at age 18—or 23 if they were in college– gave up their ID cards and left behind the only life they’d ever known.

“The worst thing about being a military brat is not being a military brat anymore. When they take away your ID card, they take away your life. Everything you’ve known. Everything that is security to you.” 

–Marc Curtis, founder of Military Brats Registry.

Connecting Brats

Military brats can usually seek and find one another in public settings, much like veterans can, and thanks to social media, military brats can now seek out and reconnect with childhood friends.  There are many Facebook groups, some very general; some of which are branch, base or school specific.

Since moving the museum to Tijeras, East Mountain brats have stopped by to introduce themselves. They’ve been watching the museum’s progress, and like what they see. Our local brats are pastors, hotel managers, school principals, letter carriers and federal workers. They own businesses and volunteer in the community. In essence, they are everywhere, but aren’t highly visible—unless you know what to look for…

…Especially in the month of April, people wearing purple or dandelions displayed on clothes or on jewelry might indicate that the wearer is a brat. Military Brat ID Seal designs can be found on pins, challenge coins, and fabric patches. License plate holders or the plates themselves might spell out “brat.” Military Brats Registry sells dandelion globes and special challenge coins. All of these symbols recognize, honor or show appreciation and love for brats and their culture. 

Clare who wrote a quote for our “Brathood” project sums up what being a brat means for her, “I’m proud to be a brat and all that entails, especially being an ambassador for the military and ‘your’ branch to civilians. After all, as my sister says, ‘this is the most exclusive club in the world – no amount of money or fame can get you in; you’re born into it, and bloom.’”

So, this April, seek out one of the many online groups conducting virtual celebrations, or, on the 30th, find your favorite brat and celebrate!

A Message from Circe Olson Woessner, the Museum Director

Effective Immediately, the Museum will be open by appointment only.

In the interest of preserving public health and limiting the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), our Museum will be CLOSED Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, April 19, except by appointment. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of all the digital resources we offer online, such as our blogs, social media and new podcast platform, which launched today at:

More information and links to our social media is available on our website on the side bar.

During much of this time, we will be working on our virtual exhibits, blogs and podcasts, and our volunteers will be busy cataloguing our artifacts. We will not have any in-person meetings with citizens, even supporters.

We would appreciate it if you help us spread the word about our museum, so we can continue to reach out to more people in these difficult times.

In the interim, we hope you visit us on-line, and follow best practices to keep yourself and loved ones healthy and safe.

Please stay well and I’ll see you all after April 15!

The Village of Tijeras and East Mountain Veteran/Family Collaborative to host program focusing on substance abuse awareness and local resources.

The Albuquerque VA, Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Services, AL-ANON Information Service Office, Turquoise Lodge, the Vet Center and Forward Flag will provide information about their programs on March 13  from 5:00-7:00 at Los Vecinos Community Center in Tijeras. 

The panel discussion will focus on recognizing warning signs, how to intercede, and what local resources are available. Community members will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Local service organizations and helping agencies will have educational materials and resource pamphlets available. 

Los Vecinos Community Center is located at 478 1/2 Old Hwy. 66, Tijeras, NM 87059. The program will be held in the small building next to the main building. 

For more information, contact Dr. Circe Olson Woessner at (505) 504-6830.

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