Fourth of July should teach us patience

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
As we begin this week, I'm sure many of you are looking forward to enjoying some time off mid week as we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. We're planning to preview that holiday here on the base with a Membership Appreciation Luncheon at the Sheppard Club on Tuesday, followed by the holiday on the 4th and Family Day on the 5th. Activities on base will of course be complemented by a full slate of activities in both Wichita Falls and Burkburnett over the holiday period. And our Services folks are planning lots of activities for our Airmen in training on the base during Thursday's Family Day. We hope the rainy weather pattern will clear long enough for you and your family and friends to get out and enjoy the holiday.

As you enjoy the festivities, I'd also encourage you to take some time to remember why we celebrate this day. 231 years ago a courageous group of Americans decided to set one of the greatest experiments of history into motion. Their idea, was that a nation need not be built on the basis of ethnicity, culture, language, or religion, but instead on an idea--freedom, liberty, and government by the people. It was a radical idea in 1776, and sadly, in some parts of our world, still remains a radical concept today. But these brave "Founding Fathers," with the support of a young American nation, embarked upon this experiment just the same. Ultimately, it took these United States of America another 13 years to win its independence, elect a President, develop a government and Constitution, and put this democracy into place.

So the ultimate lesson of 1776 may not be one of principle, but one of patience and perseverance for struggling young democracies around the globe. If it took 13 years to build a democracy in a land many argue was ideally suited for this experiment, it may take even longer in places with more historical and cultural "baggage" to overcome. As Americans, we need to remind ourselves of this fact and be thankful that there remain young men and women in our nation who have the patience, perseverance, and commitment to pay the ultimate sacrifice to help young democracies in places like Iraq and Afghanistan gain a foothold and keep our own American democracy secure. Certainly the price is high, the sacrifice is great, but thank God, there were those in 1776 willing to pay the price, and those today who will do the same.

On this 231st Fourth of July holiday, I'd like to thank you Team Sheppard for all you do to train and support the world's finest Air Force as we defend the freedom and liberties our "Founding Fathers" so courageously provided us.

And remember, as you embark upon this holiday period, please keep you and your family safe and secure. Don't take any unnecessary risks. Be sure to get plenty of rest before you drive a long distance, fasten your seat belts, don't exceed the posted speed limits, and never, never drink and drive. I'd like to see you all back here in one piece as our nation embarks on its 232d year of freedom!