I remember when I was a kid my father wasn't around very much and, to be honest, I don't remember him much when I was little. Living in a military family, with my father being a pilot in the Air Force, its almost like you are being raised by a single mother. I'm sure that was very stressful for my mom being both father and mother. It was also stressful for us when he was overseas and we never knew when he would be coming home or if he would be coming home. When I got older and he didn't fly as much, he was home more often and life seemed more normal.  

What really is normal for a military move every few years, for us it was every three years and had to be flexible where you were going to live, not complain and learn to make new friends. I really did love living on military bases. It felt safe, all my friends were in the same boat and sometimes, you saw the same ones if their parent was transferred to the same place as you. You got to see different parts of the country that you probably wouldn't see otherwise - Alaska, Hawaii and Germany. I still have friends from high school that I get together with every year. I did find that all my military dependent friends are all very self confident, independent, flexible and strong. You have to be when you're a military dependent.

Sacrifice is not only a major thing that any service member does for their country but also their family sacrifices their way of life to follow that person. You sacrifice friends, your education (going to 7 different schools in 12 years), not having a "home" - I was never really "from" anywhere. As a kid that really bothered me, not being "from" anywhere. But as I grew older I relished the fact that most people never leave their hometown and I felt more worldly having moved a lot.

I know my father had a lot of stress as a pilot. I remember one incident when he came home from a very long trip. I couldn't wait to see him, so I snuck into his bedroom to watch him sleep because I wanted to just be near him. He was talking in his sleep - still flying the plane! As a kid you never really think about the stress he had accumulated until you get older. In his generation, they never talked about serving in WWII. I never really knew much about what he did until one night my mom and I were watching a TV show about the bombing of the Polesti Rumanian Oil Fields. She turned to me and said your father did 33 missions over that. That was a shocker. That was the first time I'd heard of that and she told me about how he had been shot down over Yugoslavia and the underground got him back to Libya. Everyone in his plane bailed out except him and the Navigator. The only two that made it back were my dad and the Navigator. I had no idea. They didn't talk about PTSD back then or any kind of trauma. They just dusted themselves off and went on with life.

I only wish my father could be alive today for me to tell him again how proud I am of what he did in his career. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be doing this.