It was brought to my attention that today was the birthday of the United States Air Force. I was born to an USAF family. I often wonder how much my life would be altered if my dad wasn’t in the service during the worst war in modern US history. I grew up around the world, not thinking that this was weird or not the ‘norm’. I was thrusted into social situations and living quarters with complete strangers, all from different places and thought nothing of it. These people became my temporary family. I was never brought up to see a difference with any religions or race that differed from my own. I never questioned authority when I was young. If I was told not to do something from a teacher, principal, my father or anyone in uniform, I simply abided by it. Growing up as a serviceman’s child, I tolerated cultural differences, became more accepting and open minded as I reached adulthood. I never really noticed it, until someone in my life pointed it out to me. When I thought about it, I realized how accurate she was. While I believe it creates for a well rounded individual, it wasn’t always easy. Ask my dad and he will tell me how “lucky” I was to be able to see parts of the world that was considered a luxury vacation to most adults. What he doesn’t understand that at 11 years old, you just want to hang out with your best friends. You don’t care that you’ve seen the Eiffel Tower three times! You don’t want to have to start over every couple years, sometimes more often than that. You don’t want to learn what your new home’s fashion trends and what this new places accents are. Some places I lived, I had tons of friends. Other places, friendships were harder to find. Not to mention the varying studies that differed with each new school district. I developed a tough skin and I will always credit the military brat life as one of the key reasons I am such a chameleon in life and a true survivor. While I weigh the good and bad and still see mostly the good with brat life, I will always wear my AF Brat badge with honor and utmost respect. Happy birthday US Air Force! Thank you for keeping us safe and giving me a life to be proud of!