Decision time

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Ken Yunevich
  • 51st Communications Squadron Commander
There he was in the middle of the hallway about to turn to the door on the left, retiring to quiet and solitude. Then the door on the right opened and a voice beckoned him that way because the "people are waiting." The scene described here is from a movie about Abe Lincoln, the lawyer from Illinois, before his political career transformed him into our nation's 16th President. After a dramatic courtroom victory, the "people" could hardly wait to hear more from young Mr. Lincoln. To the left, he had a sort of comfortable peace and a promise of the status quo. To the right he had challenges that required energy and commitment, but a promise of new hope and a better future. Well you know which way he turned. After a brief hesitation, as if to assure himself of the decision he was about to make, he turned right. 

I caught the end of this movie on AFN this past Sunday... just relaxing at home. But it was Lincoln's pause in the hallway that captured my attention. To me it represented that moment of self-awareness before that sometimes awesome choice of doing nothing or doing something, of being a spectator or getting involved, of behaving indifferently or making a difference. Sometimes it's a choice that comes at great personal sacrifice; sometimes it's a choice that costs very little other than some time and effort. The choice has played out so many times in our nation's rich history, and it is a choice that plays out so very often today and every day. 

After reflecting on the events over the last couple of weeks, I can see how this dramatic moment of decision can have such a lasting impact. Those moments are inspiring; they should be remembered. Let us remember the heroic actions of many following the attacks on September 11, 2001. Let us remember the enduring heart and strength surrounding the great sacrifice of our prisoners of war and missing in action. Let us even remember the determination of those leading the charge for the birth of an independent Air Force, starting a 62-year heritage built on high achievement and innovation. Let us  remember the brave, the alone and unafraid, our brothers and sisters in harm's way today and again tomorrow. 

Let us also personally resolve to not let our own moments pass by as wasted opportunities. Although we may not choose the circumstances we find ourselves in, how we conduct ourselves in those circumstances is our choice. It makes no difference how large or how small the situation; what matters is how we act. It matters that we do act. Our core values demand for us to do something. We are not ones to stand by idly. Use your talents and experience. Get involved. Make a difference. People are not only waiting for us, they need us to inspire, to bring new hope and a promise of a better future. Fellow Airmen, make the decision. Choose the door on the right.