As we embark upon Memorial Day weekend, I want to share observations from an event I attended in Washington, DC this week. I was honored to be present at the retirement ceremony for Brigadier General Jay Burks, as he ended his career with the United States Air Force. KSB’s leadership team will remember General Burks from his compelling presentation at our Leader Development Institute. Getting to know Jay and his wife, Valerie, has been one of the highlights of my career. They are among the most brilliant, loving, fun people I have ever met, and I am thrilled for them as they open the next chapter of their lives.
There were only a handful of non-military people in the audience. The room was full of men and women serving our country. In this environment, the national anthem sounded better. The Color Guard presentation of our nation’s flag to Jay and his wife, Valerie, took on a more significant meaning. A letter of appreciation from Congress came without judgment of what our elected leaders are doing or not doing. A note of thanks from our Commander in Chief, President Trump, allowed me if only for a couple of hours, to forget about the talking heads and our politically divided country.
In General Burks role as the Director, Manpower, Personnel, and Resources, and Chief of the Medical Service Corps, he was responsible for 2.6 million patients. These are servicemen and women and their families. Seeing some of their faces at this event made me incredibly thankful for the work they do in protecting our freedom.
As we honor the men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice, I will reflect back on General Burks ceremony and hold my head just a bit higher, understanding that, even with all the challenges we now face, we are blessed to live in the best country in the world.