Thursday, May 24, 2007

COMMENTARY>>Let our lives memorialize fallen comrades

By Chief Master Sgt. Brooke McLean
314th Airlift Wing Command Chief

Memorial Day is a time to remember fallen heroes, reflect on the life we enjoy and think about the connection between our fallen heroes and our great nation.

This Memorial Day is slightly different for members of Team Little Rock — we have tasted the salt from our tears as we said goodbye to three teammates over the last month. They were family, friends, warriors, and servants of our great nation.
I wish we were able to prevent the loss of any member of the Air Force, but unfortunately, that isn’t reality.

Reality says we receive unwanted phone calls in the middle of the night or we hear the bad news from co-workers and we must say goodbye to comrades we will miss to the depth of our souls.

It leaves us shocked and empty. We may not even know the individual but we sense the loss of a wingman…someone who answered the call of our Nation. One of the less than one percent of our nation who chose to defend our country is gone.

A fellow warrior has fallen and it reminds us of how precious and precarious our lives are in this world. We are shocked and, in our own selfish way, wonder what would happen if the fallen warrior was us. The tragic loss of our friends and family members over the last month cannot be undone. We face the reality and look for lessons as we mourn.

Is there something we can learn from John T. Self, Walter Willis, and Davio Barrosa? We can certainly learn about courage and faith; we can definitely learn about dedication to country and service; and, we can observe honor and dignity. How will their deaths change our lives? Perhaps we will pause to consider our own mortality and think of things we should be doing different today.

Maybe we will slow the pace of our lives for a moment and enjoy the gifts we experience, but seem to overlook every day.
Or, possibly, we might take inventory of who we are and where we are going; examine whether we can improve on our mental, spiritual and physical well-being; take advantage of the chances we have to grow and be educated; develop lasting friendships and deepen existing relationships; or spend some extra time focusing on fitness, diet, and a healthy, responsible lifestyle.

In short, we can memorialize the Airmen who passed in the last month by remembering how we should live better and more enriched lives.

On Memorial Day, we remember our fallen heroes from days gone by and we pause to remember the Little Rock warriors recently passed. Thank you for being great members of the Little Rock Team and for serving your country.


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