Why join a special observances committee

COLUMBUS AFB, Miss. -- A common misconception about special observances is that only people of the same persuasion can benefit or participate in these events. When in reality, we all can benefit and participate while learning something new and supporting the recognition and contributions made by American citizens today and those that came before us. 

Look around the military today and you will see men and women from a variety of races, cultures, ages, religious affiliations and every combination in between. While most people are very familiar with their own culture, traditions and values, they are not as familiar with the culture and values of others. As members of the professions of arms, how we relate to and understand the differences of our fellow comrades from all walks of life, directly impacts unit cohesion and mission accomplishment. 

As an extension of our Air Force human relations education and training program, special observances are held annually in support of Joint Congressional Resolution and Presidential Proclamation to recognize the contributions and achievements of Americans to the American culture. Observances help us recognize diversity challenges and provides the bridge needed to improve overall human relations through increased unity, awareness, mutual respect and understanding of others. 

Through luncheon, seminars, books readings, cultural displays, movie viewings, educational fairs and a variety of other activities, we learn to value and appreciate the unique qualities of our fellow comrades. How we relate to other people directly relates to our culture and traditions and improves our ability to communicate by opening ourselves to new experiences and ideas of relating to people. 

With the 21st century well on its way, the nation has made plenty of resolutions for the better of humanity. There is plenty of room for change in our lives and with special observances we can take a step forward to achieving the need of educating one about appreciating the differences and unique qualities that better us as a nation. 

Moreover, as we move further into the 21st century and face the war on terrorism, our ability to adjust, adapt and lead in diverse environments is vitally important. It's imperative we attain the knowledge, skills and cultural competencies necessary to interact and bond with those who differ in some way, form or fashion. When executed properly, special observances helps us actualize the idea of e pluribus unum (out of many--comes one) within our military family and create an Air Force environment that values diversity and respects the differences of other cultures. 

While wing leadership has sole responsibility in ensuring these observances do not go unrecognized, the success or failure of theses observances primarily rests in the hands of each person assigned to Columbus AFB regardless of the group being recognized.
Enlightenment of Special Observances is the key to success; I encourage you to get involved. Each Special Observances committee requires a number of people to ensure a successful run of events and is always looking for people who are willing to make a difference. Volunteer, learn something new and pass it on. If anyone is interested in providing their time and ideas please contact the Military Equal Opportunity office at 434-2546 for more information