It's all about integrity

  • Published
  • By Capt. Brian V. Eichers
  • 934th Force Support Squadron
When I was young, my father and I were walking through a park, headed for the jungle gym. Along our path was a paper cup that was lying in the grass. I paid no attention to it and proceeded past it. When I noticed that my father had fallen behind, I turned to look for him. He had stopped to pick up the piece of garbage and was walking it over to a garbage can to dispose of it. He didn't have to. No one was there to make him do it. He simply did it because he believed that it was the right thing to do. Now, that sounds familiar, doesn't it? There is a word which encompasses that belief: Integrity.

Do you consistently do the right thing even when no one is watching? Do you take pride in your life and the way that you manage and live it? Every now and then, I think back to one of my favorite quotes from the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.  "Before I can live with other folks, I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

Every member of society has an obligation to do the right thing, but as members of the United States Air Force, wearing a uniform which symbolizes professionalism, patriotism and authority, it is doubly important that we remember to live lives of integrity.

Even when we aren't in uniform, our friends, neighbors and family know of the great brotherhood to which we are part of. We need to be cognizant of that fact, and always be honest, treat people with respect and do the right thing - especially when we think that no one is looking, because that is when it really counts.

Many people have benefited from the results of decisions which I have made out of integrity, but I sometimes wonder if I would hold integrity in such high esteem if I hadn't seen my father pick up that paper cup one day when I was young.