Commentary

May 18, 2012

Reflection, gratitude befit Memorial Day

by Gen. Donald Hoffman
Air Force Materiel Command commander

As I prepare to retire, I once again find myself reflecting on what it means to serve.

Foremost in my thoughts are those who have risked their lives to preserve freedom and democracy.

Even as we are hosting barbecues this weekend, or just enjoying extra time with our families, brave men and women are demonstrating their commitment to the United States and our way of life as they engage in military operations far from home.

Over the years, more than one million American Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and Airmen have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation. That number continues to grow. We owe these fallen warriors our gratitude and, though it can never truly be repaid, we should never forget that debt.

Take, for example, the Doolittle Raiders, who commemorated their 70th anniversary last month. Their mission was risky even as planned, but unexpected circumstances forced a difficult choice – cancel the raid or launch early and risk running out of fuel. They chose to launch. The Raiders dropped their bombs, but as their fuel gauges dropped, they knew they could not reach their designated airfields. Only 73 of the 80 Raiders returned home, some after being held prisoner for more than three years. Although the strike caused relatively little physical damage, the selfless mission of those brave Airmen forced the Japanese to strategically re-position their forces and boosted the morale of America and its allies.

Indeed, our history is full of stories of ordinary people who displayed extraordinary heroism through their service. This Memorial Day, remember the ones those stories are about – the sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters who bravely served and died protecting our freedoms.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Just American: A century of Black life

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted Harvard-trained historian Carter Woodson. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially...
 
 

Don’t underestimate the importance of sacrifices

As I was reviewing some enlisted performance reports and decorations today, I started contemplating a huge event in my life that occurred almost 20 years ago. In April of 1995, I asked my then girlfriend Tiffani, a fellow Airman at the time, to be my wife, for better or worse. We were married later that...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- What captures your attention?  We look forward to better homes, better jobs, families that don’t fight.  We plan for retirement and hope to live out our days in peace.  But as one person so aptly states, “we plan for happiness, but we’re formed by suffering.”  A foundation that does not give way to the...
 

 
rufit-edit

RUfit? Thriving outside the biodome

Staying fit, sharpening our knowledge about suicide and building resiliency are all hot topics in today’s Air Force. As all of these elements are crucial, resiliency encompasses almost everything that weighs heavy in our ...
 
 

Everyone can be great

A few weeks ago, a football player for the Dallas Cowboys was asked what he’d like from the playoff game home crowd. The player, J.J. Wilcox, responded, “Just be great.” For some reason, that phrase stuck in my mind, and it continued to nag me. Then, I realized why.  One of my foundational beliefs is...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- An article in the Atlantic Monthly asked the readers to think about things that lead them astray.  If we put it in religious categories, the things that typically lead us astray are: lust, fear, vanity, gluttony.  They are in the words of the author, “the fulfillment of momentary and passing desires.” Why are we...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>