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NEWS | March 4, 2008

Celebrate, recognize diversity daily

By Col. Taro K. Jones 113th Mission Support Group commander

"The power of excellence is overwhelming. It is always in demand and nobody cares about its color." 

These hallowed words are from one of our greatest original Tuskegee Airmen, General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr., who flew 101 combat missions in Korea, and 78 more in Vietnam. These words are inscribed on the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., next to the comments and quotes of the greatest airmen of our nation. 

Our strength as a nation has been imbedded in our ability to recognize and cultivate our melting pot of diversity. No one race, gender, religion or belief has cornered the market on our ability to succeed as airmen. The only color that we patronize is the majestic azure blue skies that we all defend. 

Everyday is a heritage day for our military and our country. The melting pot of America, has become a patchwork of voices and views that all come together to blanket our nation as one people, in the continuous search for life, liberty and freedom for all. As all families know, we do not always agree on the method and means that get us to a successful end. But, we stand up each day, and defend our ability to articulate what we see as our inalienable right to voice our opinion as free speech. 

As we close the chapter on one heritage recognition to bridge the pages to the next, let's all remember that this nation was built on the hard work of immigrants. Whether you arrived on Plymouth Rock, or in the bondage of servitude; we have found our momentum and broken free of our reigns of prejudice. 

For us to look forward at the road that is in front of us, we must glance in the rearview mirror to make sure that we have not missed those warnings that will alert us to the dangers ahead. We must read, review and celebrate our past, or be doomed to repeat our failures over and over again. History should be your playbook, and experience your guide. As the Chief of Staff of the Air Force continues to release a suggested reading list, it is your glance in the mirror for your road ahead. 

Please celebrate the diversity of our friends, family, community and military everyday! The heritage recognitions are the stepping stone to a strong knowledge base, that we learn something new about each other everyday. In the hearts and souls of each of our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and civilian members; beats the drum of freedom. Let us not forget, but stay this course and rally this victory as simply an AMERICAN.