Presidents Day provides perspective to Airmen

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Brian Newberry
  • 7th Airlift Squadron commander
We paused this third Monday in February to celebrate Presidents Day, a day set aside to principally honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, both born in February. 

Their contributions are timeless, and each overcame obstacles that set our country on its path to greatness. But, Presidents Day has evolved to celebrate all presidents, and rightfully so. 

Indeed, author David McCullough's book John Adams on our second president provides a proper perspective on what the early presidents faced in the founding of our republic; and in doing so, he provides all of us a better perspective on the challenges in our own lives. 

While traveling to the Continental Congress in 1776, John Adams penned notes to himself on what needed to be accomplished. Among the more daunting tasks: 

-- An alliance to be formed with France and Spain 
-- Government to be formed in every colony 
-- Forces to be raised and maintained 
-- A declaration of independency 

In each of these tasks, Mr. Adams and his colleagues, including Washington, were successful. To paraphrase Lincoln, they created a government of the people, by the people, for the people, that shall not perish from this earth. 

While each of us has everyday challenges, Mr. Adams' notes to himself remind us that our personal challenges are clearly winnable. Team McChord continues to provide combat airlift for America and each of us is an important ingredient in that winning recipe. 

Whether you are a loadmaster offloading cargo, a flight doctor providing medical care or an air traffic controller deconflicting C-17 Globemaster IIIs over the airbase, you are all important components ensuring this great country does not perish. The countless specialties on this base -- active duty, Reserve and Air National Guard -- are all key links in our Team McChord mission. 

So, as we honor our forefathers this Presidents Day for building and preserving this great nation, we should also pause to be thankful that our immediate task next week is not to figure out how to have "forces raised and maintained." 

Whatever our own duties, we should come to work confident that our goals are clearly achievable, and each of us support the vision for America that Mr. Adams first had over two hundred years ago. These great men aimed to change a nation ... instead they changed a world -- we are still part of that movement today!