Our paths lead us here

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kali L. Gradishar
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Sometimes I just can't help but look out the window with a blank stare, the wheels turning in my head. Occasionally, the turning wheels reveal the next commentary or feature idea. Most often, however, the wheels go over the past few years - what led to me joining the Air Force.

As in every chapter in life, there are the negative and positive steps that get someone to their present condition. The hard things in life are what mold a person into who they are, only because traveling the rockiest road can reveal important character merits and flaws.

When I turn 180 degrees on my path of life and see where I've been, I see nothing I would change. Even with all the small-brained things I've done, there is nothing I would
take back. Why?

I have two reasons I will share.

One reason is because I believe it is important to live without regrets. The other reason is because if I had taken any different turns in life, I may not have ended up being exactly where I am now.

If I had decided to not jump off that roof in the tenth grade or take that penny I saw shining and staring at me from the pavement below, I might not be the Airman I am today in the Air Force serving this free nation with the honor, pride and integrity every Airman should have.

I see it in the faces - during the singing of the national anthem, the recitation of the oath of enlistment, when a retired chief shares his stories of war and adventure, as the flag is lowered at the end of the day - I see the feeling in the faces of the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen that sets servicemembers apart from the everyday civilian.

These servicemembers are lucky. If their paths had been any different, they may not have had the pleasure of feeling the pride of protecting the nation's freedoms. They wear the uniform; they chose that path.