Many of the soldiers serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan are also moms and dads who will go months without seeing their children. This week, the Mississippi National Guard is hosting a summer camp to help these children better understand what their parents are doing while they're away.
Phillip Cowart knows that military life comes with a lot of sacrifices. His hat reads "My family is serving in Kuwait."
"I wrote all this stuff on my hat because most of my family is deployed overseas - my brother, sister and dad. They all have really important jobs right now and I'm really happy for them."
Tank rides, morning inspections and marches give these nine to 12-year-olds a sense of what their military moms and dads experience.
Nine-year-old Brianna Hall has learned that, "it's really hard for them because they always have to be in the hot sun and they hardly get breaks."
"It takes a lot of hard work to be in the military. You can't just come and not work," said Benjamin Collins.
Even with all the hard work and long walks in the hot sun nine-year-old Darby Burghard sees the rewards of serving her country.
"When you do something right, then you just feel kind of good."
Most every camper has a relative who either has been on active duty, is deployed right now, or is on alert to go to war.
Nathan Davis's uncle went to Iraq.
"It gives you more of an appreciation because you know what they were thinking whenever they was gone and everything."
Meanwhile, Phillip Cowart thinks of his family who has been gone the past six months.
"I'm really proud of my family and I'm just happy for them right now because they're happy doing their jobs."
Many of the youngsters say the Guard Youth Camp makes them even more proud of the heroes they call Mom and Dad.
This is the National Guard Summer Camp's 12th year and its first time in Gulfport. More than 120 children are participating this week.