Heritage, tradition, celebration important to remember, pass on

  • Published
  • By Maj. Kevin O'Connor
  • 56th Maintenance Operations Squadron commander
An important anniversary was honored in September as in preceding years, and it is something I'm proud to celebrate. It's our Air Force's birthday and celebrating it helps us recall our heritage as well as symbolize our current mission. Our service's birthday gives us an event to honor the service and sacrifice of Air Force men and women.

I have been involved with helping celebrate and commemorate events for many years in my career. It was my honor and duty to do so. Nevertheless, it is also my responsibility to ensure I pass this tradition of commemoration on to younger generations, lest we forget. My approach is simple; get others involved so ideas and reverence are not only communicated to, but practiced by them. They in turn set an example for others to follow in the future.

Customs and traditions grow out of how we conduct ourselves, which can be seen in Air Force Instructions, but there are some that are unwritten. It is military tradition to celebrate achievements, team or individual. These celebrations are intended to motivate others to excel and to perpetuate our values of service before self and excellence in all we do. It's important that each Airman be mindful of heritage and traditions and their duty to uphold them. It is our charge to ensure that our traditions and other events that make up our heritage continue along with our customs. Following customs will help Airmen feel part of the team and creates strong bonds of loyalty to the Air Force. What binds members together at any rank is our service to our nation. And of course, one of our most time honored traditions is celebrating our Air Force's birthday.

Our predecessors, the architects of the Air Force, Mitchell, Arnold, Lemay, Twinning, Brown and Vandenberg, built the foundations of our service. It's also to their memories we pay tribute. They broke from the Army and formed the most dominant air power ever to fly the skies. They developed air and space technology that became the envy of the world. It quickly became clear our U.S. Air Force would not be matched. From our first day as a service, in 1947, until today the U.S. Air Force has always focused on the future. This unwavering tradition of forward thinking by our Airmen is what separates us from any other military in the world, and from any other service in the Defense Department.

Therefore, it is our charge today to carry on and make these time honored traditions a part of the future.