Commentary

June 29, 2012

Celebrating freedom with pride this July 4th

by Chief Master Sgt. David VanVlack
AFOTEC, Det. 1, outgoing superintendent

This story starts 11 days before the 4th of July on June 25, 1996. I was in the U.S. Air Force, deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

On that night, I was bare-chested, clad in jeans and tennis shoes as I turned my back to a sliding glass door. The 25,000-pound truck bomb threw me to the floor. My neck, back and arms were ripped apart with glass and concrete. The wounds were serious but didn’t hit any vital organs. I was medically evacuated home.

By July 2, I was healing well, still covered in bandages, but kicking with energy. Much to the surprise of many, I went out and bought $500 in fireworks. The truth is I was pretty confused and thinking of walking away, but I planned to celebrate our freedom with pride.

On the 4th, as I lit off thousands of firecrackers, a young boy approached me. Seeing the bandages, he asked, “What happened?” I told him some terrorists blew up a bomb to try and scare us away. Wide-eyed, he said, “Wow, what are you going to do?” I told him I was planning on calling it quits. He cocked his head to the side in deep thought and then said, “Well then, I guess if you quit, they win.” That young boy changed my life; there was no way I would let them win.

That was 16 years ago, and at almost 27 years of service, I am still on active duty. Every 4th of July, I think back to that young man and his words of wisdom and I celebrate the freedom of our Nation with great pride and joy.




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


 
 

 

News Briefs October 24, 2014

M4/M9 Firing Range closure The Edwards AFB Combat Arms Firing Range is closed for M4 and M9 firing until further notice. Any required firing for PCS or deployments will temporarily be accomplished at March ARB, Calif. To schedule training, contact the Combat Arms section at 661-277-2103. It is strongly recommended that all firing be scheduled as soon...
 
 
town-hall

Edwards community holds town hall meeting

Air Force photograph by Jena Romo Col. Eric Leshinksy, 412th Mission Support Group commander, addresses the audience at a town hall meeting Oct. 15 at the Airmen and Family Readiness Center. The Edwards community gathered at th...
 
 
Instagram by Master Sgt. Sonny Cohrs

Online vigilance helps reduce risk

Instagram by Master Sgt. Sonny Cohrs The Air Force reminds us not to post information about deployment departures, locations, and on-going operations. However, even a simple photo of your family pet can reveal personal informat...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Gathering of Eagles honors 70 years of TPS

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Brig. Gen. Michael Brewer, 412th Test Wing commander, offered the closing remarks for the event, reminding the audience that fundraiser is about preparing for the future. The Flight Test Hi...
 
 
commissary

Giving ‘gift of groceries’? Think Commissary gift cards

No matter the occasion, Commissary gift cards are always available to help family members, friends and organizations give the gift of groceries. “Our gift cards are versatile,” said Randy Chandler, the Defense Commi...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Christian Turner

AFMC command chief visits with Edwards Airmen

Air Force photograph by Christian Turner Chief Master Sgt. Michael J. Warner, Air Force Materiel Command command chief, speaks to enlisted Airmen at Club Muroc Oct. 15. Warner held two enlisted calls speaking to junior Airmen i...
 




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>