PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
During a speech in Montgomery Alabama, titled, Conquering Self-Centeredness (1957), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said "An individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity ... Every person must decide, at some point, whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?"
The legacy of Dr. King was not just about the Civil Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Movement was not just about Dr. King. It, his legacy, is about his entire life, his character and his service to others. As I reflect on his life, it motivates me to divert my attention from my selfish desires, and to my responsibility to society and others.
Dr. King was a catalyst that commanded change and as a result, many acts were established. In fulfilling life's purpose, he brought to light the injustices of people being unjustly discriminated against, not based on their character, but the color of their skin, gender, disability, religion, etc.
Jan. 21, 2007, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Holiday should not be just another day off. For society, it should represent an opportunity to remember his legacy of serving others, to reflect on his words of wisdom, on his life's purpose and on the lives' of others that made the ultimate sacrifice. Through my personal reflections I think of being an American Airman and our Airman's Creed: "I am an American Airman ... I have answered my Nation's call ... I defend my country with my life ... I will never leave an Airman behind."
Being part of our Nation's defense is an honor and has allowed me to rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. It is answering my Nation's call that also allows me to walk in the light of creative altruism and not in the darkness of destructive selfishness. I will spend this holiday doing and asking, "What am I going to do for others?"
Surmised by Dr. King from the story of the Good Samaritan, he says "The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But ... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?' Because of this frame of mind, "I will never leave an Airman behind."
"Service before Self" is an Air Force core value, but it should not end there. It should not be a value reserved for the holidays or military service. It should be applied to everyday life for individuals and the betterment of mankind. Treat everyday and every observance as a day and way to celebrate life, purpose and people. Begin to live life fully.
Remember Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. this holiday. Remember his words: "What are you doing for others?" The 21st Space Wing is having an observance Jan.17 at the base chapel from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
For more on Dr. King's holiday, click here
. This year's theme and new initiative is "40 Days of Nonviolence: Building the Beloved Community."