King's words ring in Air Force core values

  • Published
  • By Col. Richard Klumpp,Jr.
  • 71st Flying Training Wing commander
Monday's issue of the Enid News & Eagle had two articles with Vance ties that may have seemed unrelated, but actually are very closely linked.

The first article concerned Enid's observance Sunday of Martin Luther King Jr.' s birthday and the second article regarded the annual spring community-wide Christmas in Action program.

Although occurring three months later, Christmas in Action follows the intent Congress had in 1994 when it passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating the King Holiday as a national day of volunteer service. Congress asked Americans of all backgrounds and ages to celebrate Dr. King' s legacy by turning community concerns into citizen action.
There may not be an organized volunteer opportunity Monday for Team Vance members, but we can still honor the spirit of the King Day of Service throughout the year. There are many volunteer opportunities in the local area that bring together people who might not ordinarily meet, break down barriers that have divided us in the past and lead to better understanding and ongoing relationships. Those ideas of unity, purpose and the great things that can happen when we work together toward a common goal are just some of the many reasons we honor Dr. King on this special holiday and recognize the ideals he represented.
Some of the words Dr. King used to express ideals he championed relate directly to the Air Force core values:

Integrity First -- "Cowardice asks the question -- is it safe? Expediency asks the question -- is it politic? Vanity asks the question -- is it popular? But conscience asks the question -- is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right."

Service Before Self -- "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

Excellence in All We Do -- "Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."

Dr. King, perhaps also said best why we serve in the armed forces when he remarked "there are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they're worth dying for...if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live."

I encourage all Team Vance members to join me in honoring the life of Dr. King at an observance 4:30 p. m. Sunday at Booker T. Washington Community Center, 800 S. 5th St., Enid.

And for more information about volunteering for April's Christmas in Action program, e-mail the programs chairman, our own Lt. Col. Darren Siegersma, 5th Flying Training Squadron, at or call 7261.