Commentary

June 8, 2012

History in flesh better than reading about it

by Lt. Col. Dominic Clementz
56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron

Recently, I had the unprecedented opportunity to spend an evening socializing with veterans and family members whose life experiences spanned nine decades. The social brought together an Auschwitz and Holocaust survivor, a D-Day and concentration camp liberator, a Pearl Harbor survivor, a couple of Korean War veterans, and a few Vietnam veterans along with several active-duty Airmen and their families. The casual, yet, captivating discussions that evening proved richer than any history book. It reminded me of a phrase a former history professor was fond of sharing, “History may not repeat itself, but it surely rhymes.”

The point the professor was trying to impart is that we can learn much from our collective past as we work to shape a better future. This is a very pertinent lesson to all of us in the profession of arms who are entrusted with defending our Constitution against all enemies.

Every level of professional military education devotes considerable time and resources to teaching and reflecting on the leadership challenges of past generations within the context of service, and national and world history. Consequently, as PME graduates, we are also novice historians. Knowing our history is important because mistakes, as well as successes, are recognizable to some degree.

As amateur historians, most of us can relate to at least one instance where individuals or nations recognized or failed to recognize the social dynamics at work. Often when the social dynamics were recognized, overwhelming success followed. On the other hand, when the lessons of history were not learned, tragedy followed. Therefore, most readers recognize the intrinsic value of understanding our past so we can make better decisions for the future.

Whether you are a self-proclaimed history buff or a reluctant novice, I think you will find that learning about history is much more rewarding and relevant the closer you are to the source material. As military members, we have opportunities to travel the world and walk the battlefields of past conflicts as well as talk face-to-face (not to be confused with Facebook) with veterans who have, as the saying goes, “been there, done that and got the T-shirt.”

Another Memorial Day has come and gone, but I challenge each of you to seek out an opportunity to visit with a veteran and ask them to share their story and perhaps their memory of a fallen comrade. Luke Air Force Base has many such opportunities throughout the year, including heritage month celebrations, Holocaust Remembrance events, and prisoner of war panels. Additionally, we can seek face-to-face exchanges during VA hospital visits, in veterans organizations (VFW, American Legion and sergeants associations), or within our own family and community.

Also consider volunteering to capture this living history for future generations of Americans. In 2000, the Unites States Congress voted unanimously for legislation to create the Veterans History Project at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress Veterans History Project provides a great avenue to honor the contributions of American war veterans and civilian workers who supported them by preserving stories of their service to our country. The Veterans History Project relies on volunteers throughout the nation to collect veterans’ stories via audio, video and written means on behalf of the Library of Congress. I have had the privilege to interview four World War II service members through the Veterans History Project. In the process, I learned an enormous amount about “The Greatest Generation,” our county and the world in which we live. The interviews were a tremendous personal experience that I will always treasure. I challenge you to seek a similar experience while honoring the proud legacy of our nation’s patriots.




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


 
 

 

My personal leadership philosophy

My personal leadership philosophy can be summed up in just a few words — people first, mission always. Some may mistake the phrase “people first, mission always” as a dictum to coddle unit personnel through adversity, but actually, my focus is on preparing them to overcome adversity. The mission will always press on, but without...
 
 

Work, family balance success marker

“Being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar In our careers, we frequently hear about the importance of having balance in our life and job. Some common...
 
 
Staff Sgt. 
TIMOTHY BOYER

Luke plays role in saving species

Staff Sgt.TIMOTHY BOYER A team of wildlife specialists prepare a Sonoran pronghorn for release into the wild at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Ajo. Sixty-nine pronghorn were captured this year. Of those, more tha...
 

 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Road closure Litchfield Road at Northern Parkway is closed daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sunday to paint the bridge overpass, weather permitting. Northern Parkway will remain open. Reems Road and Dysart Road are alternate routes. For more information, call MCDOT at 480-350-9288. MLK luncheon There will be a Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon...
 
 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

MWD Roy — partner, friend passes

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Scott Emmick, 56th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler, and Roy, 56th SFS MWD, play Dec. 14, 2012, at the at Luke Air Force Base kennels. The MWD and handler team plays to...
 
 

46 graduate ALS in class 15-1

The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School graduated 45 senior airmen and one staff sergeant Dec. 11 from class 15-1. The graduates are senior airmen unless otherwise noted. John L. Levitow award: Nathaniel Gladney, 56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Distinguished graduates: Matthew Goodspeed, 56th Operations Support Squadron; Russell Hires, 56th Medical Support Squadron; James Gilmore, 56t...
 




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>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin