Blogging from Barksdale
Last week I had the honor of visiting Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana. I was asked to deliver the keynote speech at the 2006 Eighth Air Force Outstanding Airmen of the Year Banquet by my good friend, Lt. General Kevin Chilton. Lt. General Chilton is an inspiring leader, a former astronaut and a great American whom I am proud to call my friend. It was a very special visit, as I had the opportunity to express my sincere gratitude, appreciation and respect to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, the people who wear the uniform of the greatest country in the world.
The banquet’s theme was, Every Generation has its Heroes, and featured brave airmen from World War II, as well as today. Those people being honored are my heroes, as are the people who put their lives on the line to protect our country, who fight for the ideal of freedom, and who represent the citizens of our land, the American soldiers, airmen, marines and midshipmen.
I had the unique opportunity to climb inside the cockpit of an A10, and fly in a B52 simulator (yes I landed safely). The banquet was a success and everyone had a great time. We were able to break bread and have a few laughs; laughter is the food for the soul. When you can laugh, you can forget any problems you may have in life. Those airmen made me laugh, and for that I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.