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 November 21, 2014

Chapel service There will be an Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service and dessert service 6 p.m., Nov. 24 at Chapel 1. Everyone is invited to bring your favorite dessert to share. For more information, call 661-277-2110. Commissary closure The Edwards Commissary will be closed Thanksgiving Day and then resume regular hours Nov. 28. Exchange closure The Edwards...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Brad White

Winter fire safety tips

Air Force photograph by Brad White The aftermath of a resident fire in the Edwards AFB housing area last month. Recently, Edwards AFB encountered a fire in the housing area that could have been devastating to all involved. The ...
 
 

Holiday Hours

Special holiday hours will be in force for 412th Force Support Squadron facilities. The hours are: Thanksgiving Day – Nov. 27 All 412th FSS facilities will be CLOSED except the following: * Aero Club: Flying sunrise to sunset, office closed * Joshua Tree Dining Facility: Brunch 6 a.m.-1 p.m., Dinner 4:30-7 p.m., and Midnight Meal...
 

 
Photograph courtesy of Vincent Doss

DHS football, girls volleyball end seasons

Photograph courtesy of Vincent Doss Athletes of the Desert High School Girls Volleyball team pose for a group photo following their win at Mammoth High School last month. The Scorpions lost a close game 3-2 against Duarte High ...
 
 

Airmen Powered by Innovation program launches new site

WASHINGTON – Fellow Airmen, Your enthusiasm and ingenuity continues to be our Air Forceís number one weapon system! In April of this year we launched the Airmen Powered by Innovation program aimed at turning your ideas into real cost savings for our Air Force. Since coming online API has received and reviewed more than 2,400...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Airman receives ‘surreal’ phone call from Paramount Pictures

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Capt. Eric Koenig, 412th Aerospace Medicine Squadron dentist, accepted an offer from Paramount Pictures to purchase one of his screenplays, “Matriarch,” on Veterans Day. For som...
 




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>