Mowing the lawn

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarad A. Denton
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
I hated mowing the lawn. 

It was so boring, so mundane and it always needed to be done whenever my favorite television shows were on. Of course I rushed through it. 

I didn't care that by zipping around my parents' yard like a madman on a tractor I was actually pulling the grass up, instead of cutting it; which eventually led to the grass dying. 

Laziness and apathy grew from lack of pride in my parents' yard. 

I have my own yard now, and instead of racing around when I cut the grass I find myself mowing in patterns that will make the yard look better. I also water on scheduled days, spread fertilizer and grass seed, as needed. 

What changed, I asked myself. 

The only answer I could think of was that lawn care means more to me now because this is my yard. I've taken ownership of this little piece of land that surrounds my house. From this ownership, I derive a sense of pride in how my lawn appears to my neighbors. 

That pride can be compared to the pride I have in my Air Force career. When someone joins the military they don't sign up to punch a time clock. Instead, they are investing themselves into a way of life, whether they realize it or not. 

That way of life stems from "a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor" that is found in the Airman's Creed. We come from a long line of heroes and patriots that have earned their place in history. 

Heroes like Army Air Force Staff Sgt. Henry "Red" Erwin, who saved his B-29 crew and aircraft during a mission over Koriyama, Japan, during World War II. Sergeant Erwin sustained severe burns when he carried a phosphorous smoke bomb through the aircraft after it had prematurely detonated, and threw it out a window in the cockpit. 

For those actions, Sergeant Erwin was awarded the Medal of Honor on June 6, 1945. He demonstrated the courage and valor that has been immortalized in the Air Force Core Value, "service before self." 

Those values have given Airmen pride and ownership in the world's greatest Air Force. They have provided guidance during times of trouble and the motivation to do great things. 

They exist as the seed, water and mower that allow us to take ownership of the Air Force and safeguard it for the future.