This I Believe

Todd - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on November 9, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change

Ever since I was a child, my father has been in the Air Force. He served in the military for 30 years until his retirement last year. The Air Force is a great thing to be involved with and can truly make you a stronger person. I am 19 years old and I have lived in 6 different states and countries varying from Maryland to Panama. The one thing that has made me a stronger person is the fact of moving and living in these completely different areas around the world. It is not easy making completely new friends every three to four years. It seemed to me that every time I got settled in to a place that we moved, my dad would get the orders from the “Big Guy” that we are moving yet again. It was hard yet very constructive for my character. I am a naturally shy and quiet person but I feel being in the Air Force has lightened up my character and given me a stronger and more outgoing appearance.

The one good thing about the earlier moves that we had is that we usually lived on military bases and I made friends with kids who were going through the same thing that I was. At one time, we moved to San Antonio, Texas and then 10 months later we moved to a different military base on the opposite side of San Antonio. This was one of the easiest moves that we had encountered because I could still visit my old friends. The hardest move we had would have to be from Panama to Virginia. Panama was basically my childhood and also where I found my best friend. After living in Panama for 3 years from first grade to third, my dad got another word from the “Big Guy” that we were moving again. This truly broke my heart and made me hate the Air Force. It was not easy to keep moving like this and I could not take it anymore. Obviously, I didn’t have a choice and we had to move. I’m glad we did because I found my second best friend in Virginia.

For some people, going off to college or becoming an adult is the hardest change in their life. Some people live their whole lives in just one place and have one best friend for the rest of their life. Other people, like me, have parents who are or were in the military and move every so often. It is not an easy process but I do feel that it makes a person stronger. I encourage anyone who has the chance to be involved with the military to take the chance—not only do you get to travel the world, but you also get to meet new people and become a stronger person in the process; this I believe.