Honor and respect

Members of the 17th Training Group black rope drill team salute the folded United States flag after delivering the flag to Maj. Hunter Sawders, 17th Security Forces Squadron commander, during a special retreat ceremony Sept. 5. The retreat was held in honor of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, the first female Airman killed in the line of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who was deployed to Camp Bucca, Iraq, from the 17 SFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. John Barton)

Members of the 17th Training Group black rope drill team salute the folded United States flag after delivering the flag to Maj. Hunter Sawders, 17th Security Forces Squadron commander, during a special retreat ceremony Sept. 5. The retreat was held in honor of Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, the first female Airman killed in the line of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who was deployed to Camp Bucca, Iraq, from the 17 SFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. John Barton)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- How many of you run for your cars or run for the building at about 4:58 p.m., right around the time Retreat begins to play? How many times have you tried to excuse your way out of retreat ceremonies? To be honest, we have all probably done it at one time or another, but let's take a moment to think about what the ceremony actually represents.

We are paying respect to our nation's flag, which has flown over our country for more than 200 years. This is the flag that was flown on D-Day, the flag that was raised on Iwo Jima, the flag that was flown in Baghdad after the fall of Saddam Hussein and the flag that continues to fly all over the world even to this day.

Think about what that flag represents; think about those who have given their lives in the defense of that flag. Every time I stand for retreat, every time the colors are presented at the many ceremonies I attend, I still, to this day, get goose bumps thinking about those who went before me and paved the way for me to serve my country.

Every day, when I come to work at the 17th Security Forces Squadron, I pass by a memorial to Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Jacobson, a Goodfellow warrior who gave her life in defense of this great country. It humbles me each and every day. Airman Jacobson fought and died for her country; I can at least take three to five minutes out of my day to pay respect to that flag under which she served.

I encourage each and every one of you to think about those who have gone before us and paved the way for us every time you hear retreat. We owe them that honor and respect. They, and our nation, have earned it.