Commentary

November 9, 2012

What does ‘Old Glory’ mean?

In any society, its heritage or legacy is fashioned and passed on by each generation. The Air Force is no different. The Air Force is a society and each new generation of Airmen has the duty and responsibility of carrying on the heritage. As leaders, you must celebrate our rich history and ensure the newest generations of Airmen practice and keep Air Force traditions alive.

A year ago, I assumed the duty of Airman Leadership School commandant. I thought to myself, what a privilege it is to serve in this capacity. Developing future leaders and preserving our enlisted heritage are topics close to my heart.

My excitement grew as my first day approached. During my studies, I reviewed the lesson titled Air Force Heritage. This lesson discusses many aspects of our military culture. My favorite topic in this lesson is drill and ceremony.

To think, I get to regularly perform military drill and ceremony traditions that date back to the Revolutionary War. More importantly, we take the time to pay respect to the U.S. flag, Old Glory. The U.S. flag is symbolic of the United States and the values “for which it stands.” Then why is it so many individuals, military and civilian alike, run inside buildings or to their vehicles to avoid participation in reveille and retreat?

On occasion my team of instructors and I have corrected reveille and retreat dodgers. Common responses are: “I did not know I had to do it with ALS” or “I thought I was only required to participate when the giant voice sounds on base.” Should it matter that ALS is conducting reveille and retreat?

Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, para. 1.6.2., Respect for the Flag states: The Flag of the United States is one of the most enduring and sacred symbols of our country. It represents the principles and ideals you have pledged to defend and for which many have made the ultimate sacrifice. Airmen shall treat it with the same respect due to the highest military and public officials.

Nowhere in the AFI does it state you can pick and choose when to participate in reveille and retreat. Instead, the AFI directs immediate action and reminds us that our customs and courtesies reflect the unique nature of our profession and guides significant aspects of our behavior.

In essence, it doesn’t matter if reveille and retreat occurs at multiple times or in different locations on base; you must always render the proper customs and courtesies.

Another example is some participants in reveille and retreat don’t take it seriously. I’ve witnessed people laughing during ceremonies and displaying a lack of military bearing. When this occurs I am livid. People have lost their lives in defense of this flag. Then, I realize those individuals have no idea of the importance of the activity. They are just going through the motions. We must always take the opportunity to educate anyone who fails to give respect to the flag.

As a Haitian American my mother instilled in me the value of freedom. I understood the concept of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” before I decided to serve. We must never lose sight of those rights.

Simply put, the next time you look at the U.S. flag or participate in military drill and ceremony honoring the flag, take a moment to remember those serving and those who have served. Never forget those sacrifices. That is what Old Glory means to me.




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


 
 

 

Who’s afraid of a little blood?

I have been in the Air Force for 22 years and have been a medical laboratory technician since the beginning of my career. The medical or clinical laboratory is where specimens are tested to provide information to medical providers who directly assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in patients. After graduating basic...
 
 

Pursue education for career’s sake

Everyone knows education can be a good bullet on an enlisted performance report, but few know the true value of an education in regard to a military career. The pursuit of an education can be just as valuable as the degree acquired at the end. The knowledge acquired in the pursuit of an education can...
 
 
This-week-in-history

This week in history

1945: P-51 Transition Training Luke Field instructors began to teach a transition course in the North American P 51 Mustang 70 years ago this month when 13 of the aircraft arrived at Luke Field. In the following months, instruc...
 

 
foodnetworkstar

Fly Over: ‘Rose and Crown Pub’ and ‘Food Network Star’

‘Rose and Crown Pub’ A beautiful green countryside, day after day of cloudy skies, rain and fog, and chilly winters and humid summers — if this sounds more appealing to you than sun and desert heat, you’re probably bett...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

Our generation loves to hear inspiring stories — tales about exceptional heroes who fear nothing and succeed even during difficult times. Yet these extraordinary characters, admired by the people, can only be found in the comics. They’re called super heroes; because one day, by a stroke of luck, they were given incredible powers. However, the...
 
 

How do you stack up?

With upcoming changes to the enlisted performance report and Air Force promotion system, it’s important to understand how you stack up against your peers, not only within your job, but within your unit as well. The days of receiving time in grade and time in service points are numbered. They are being replaced with a...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>