• Published
  • By Chaplain, Lt Col Pat Travers
  • 477th Fighter Group
As our calendar year draws to a close, people of many different religious faiths and spiritual outlooks take the opportunity to reflect on the events of the year that is coming to an end, and on their hopes and aspirations for the coming New Year.  For all of us at the 477th Fighter Group and our families and loved ones, this opportunity has special meaning because of our unique role in serving our Nation and the cause of peace and justice throughout the world.  In reviewing the events of 2014, we can all agree that the responsibilities of serving in the Air Force Reserve have not gotten any easier, as we continue to adjust to new budgetary and administrative constraints on our service, including the loss of two of our squadrons.  And, it is very clear from the course of world events that this service is as necessary as ever, as we confront the challenges that have arisen through human evil and devastating natural disasters and disease.

And yet, we have much to be thankful for as we bring this year to a close.  As members and families of the 477th we can be thankful for one another--for the opportunity to serve with and befriend men and women of such ability and dedication who have answered the call to this special form of service to others.  This includes our friends and colleagues of the security forces and civil engineer squadrons who are leaving us, as well as those who have moved on to retirement.  We can be thankful for the dedication and leadership that have empowered us to fulfill our duties even in the face of new and unpredictable challenges.  We can be thankful for the example and inspiration of our forebears in the 477th, including the steadfast service of the Tuskegee Airmen in the face of discrimination and injustice.  We can be thankful for the opportunity to live in this free Nation and this amazing State of Alaska, enjoying the remarkable way of life that we defend.  And we can be thankful for our families and loved ones, and all of those who support our service by their love and sacrifice.

As we look ahead to the new year, let us take some time to reflect on our hopes and aspirations for 2015:  for our families, our communities, our Air Force, our Nation, and our World.  Let us renew our commitment to the peace and justice that are celebrated by so many at this time of year, and pray that the suffering and oppression experienced by our brothers and sisters of our human family might finally be brought to an end, and the promise of this holiday season finally fulfilled