How will you be remembered?

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- In a recent Army News Service article, I read of a significant event that occurred March 2, which may have gone unnoticed by many. On that day, with the playing of 'Taps' and a 21-gun salute, a hero was laid to rest in Portland, Ore. Retired Army Cpl. Howard Ramsey, Oregon's last living World War I veteran and the last known U.S. combat veteran of World War I, died in his sleep Feb. 22 at a Portland assisted-living center. He was honored in a memorial service attended by more than 200 people exactly one month before reaching his 109th birthday!

Another hero, retired Lt. Col. Chase Nielson, one of the famed 'Doolittle Raiders,' died March 23 at his home in Brigham City, Utah. Colonel Nielsen, a lieutenant at the time, was the navigator of 'Crew # 6,' one of 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers and 80 Airmen that launched from the deck of the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942.

The Doolittle Raiders helped boost American morale in the early days of World War II with a surprise air attack on Japan. Led by legendary aviation pioneer Lt. Col. James 'Jimmy' Doolittle, the raid is one of the most studied and talked about missions in the history of aerial warfare.

"I am proud to have been on the Doolittle Raid," said Colonel Nielson on April 18, 2006 at the 64th annual reunion commemorating the raid. "I am more proud to have been of service to my country. I hope and I pray that what we Doolittle Raiders have done will be an inspiration to you people. I hope and pray that our young men and young women who are serving in the service today will be protected; that they will live their lives in accordance with the military rules and laws of war, that they will do their best and that they will appreciate their country and protect their flag as we tried to do ourselves."

As we pay our respects to these two heroes, I ask you to reflect on how you would want to be remembered.

How would you be eulogized if you were laid to rest? How do you live your life? Is it in a manner that would make you and others proud?

I believe we are remembered most by how we interact with each other. It is our associations and personal interactions that have the most profound impact on others.
Have you ever had someone come up to you and thank you for helping them through a particularly tough time? I have, and it is the most rewarding feeling and what I would hope to be remembered for more than anything else!

I truly believe we must live our lives to the utmost and always try to do the right thing for ourselves and those around us. It is those around us who will ultimately remember us for our deeds and actions.

An anonymous quote that drives this point home for me reads, "Nothing on this earth influences the quality of our lives, either positively or negatively, as do our relationships."

Thanks for your hard work in this week's base-wide exercise. You proved your mettle through long duty hours and difficult scenarios and made Colonel Cox and the base leadership proud.

Since spring is here and Easter is right around the corner, ask yourself how you want to be remembered. What will be your 'legacy?' Thanks for what you do each and every day. I am proud to be your command chief!