Sometimes the things that we need to do, are the last things that we want to do. I have been required to pay attention to detail more than I ever had in my life. I’ve had to learn to not gaze on upper quad and in the halls, yell at the top of my lungs when I’m in the halls, I’ve had to learn ranks, names, memorize VT history and so forth. It’s been difficult and time consuming. Many times I’ve wanted to do other things but I know now that I had to pay attention to details in order to be successful. In Florman’s book, he talks about his first job as a assistant estimator at Thompson Starrett Company. He recalls reviewing hardware schedules, analyzing each lockset, and counting structural glazed blocks. Everything had to be checked multiple times and nothing was trivial enough to be looked over. His job was tedious and not very enjoyable but necessary to say the least. In Dr. Bob Barret’s essay in “This I Believe II”, Barret writes about how difficult it was for him to come out about being homosexual. As a married man with children, he did not want to risk the fact of losing his family and respect as a man. He did what he needed to do and admitted he was gay to his family. Instead of ignoring the facts, he payed attention to detail and realized he was gay.
Moving on after losing someone that you’re close to is one of the hardest things that anyone can do. About a year ago, one of my classmates took his own life. I did not know him very well but many of my good friends were close to him. I remember how devastated everyone was when we all heard the news. The halls were silent with the exception of a few people weeping. As for my friends , I did not know how they would recover from the news and I wasn’t exactly sure how I would recover after seeing the pain that I saw my friends go through. To my surprise, many of my friends, especially those that were on the football team with me, reacted in a positive way. They swore to play hard and win in order to honor their friend. This inspired me to work harder as well and to help others more than usual. In the book, Good Guys, Wise Guys, and Putting Up Buildings”, Florman talks about how after the war, many of the people that he knew, wanted to return to school after the devastation of World War II. More than three hundred thousand Americans were killed in battle, and double that number wounded. However, only a few of his good friends were in an intense battle. Those individuals put their past behind them and continued on with their lives. In the essay, “Living in the Here and Now” by Jeffrey Hollender, Hollender talks about how the death of his brother changed his life. He honored his deceased brother by focusing on the present and paying attention to whats going on in his life rather than dwelling on the past or thinking about the future.
The responses that my fellow Cadets and I get vary. Some people praise us, some people respect us, some people don’t like us, and some people would say; “Why would you want to do that? Your life must suck”. The answer is simple: I want to become a leader. More importantly, a leader in the Air Force. Although I have an idea of what I want to do in the Air Force, I’m still not entirely sure, but I do know that I want to be here, even if it’s very difficult sometimes. I especially enjoy the camaraderie with my buds and I look out for them whenever I can. Believe it or not, we do have our “fun” moments. In Florman’s book, Florman, like me, takes the road less traveled. Instead of doing what his father did in the millinery business (something he was familiar with), he decides to go into the Civil Engineering Corps. There are no guarantees and the schooling was hard, but he did it anyway because that’s what he wanted to do. In Tony Hawk’s essay, “Do What You Love”, he describes the struggles he’s had to deal with from being a professional skateboarder. He had to deal with the constant scolding he received from some of his school teachers, telling him that he won’t make a living doing what he wanted to do, the negative stereotypes that people have about skateboarders and getting frustrated because he couldn’t land a maneuver. Although both of these men struggled through certain times of their lives, they still kept trying to accomplish their dreams and became very successful men. Like them, I am going through some of the same struggles that they are going through and I have continued to pursue my goals as well.
Denying the truth is just as severe as committing a wrongdoing. In the first chapter of “Good Guys, Wiseguys, and Putting Up Buildings”, the author, Samuel Florman, arrives at a scene where a subcontractor is pleading with the city inspector to give him a “few more minutes” because no renewed building permit could be attained. After a heated argument between the two, the inspector bribes the subcontractor and then the subcontractor threatens to have the inspector killed. No words are exchanged after the event and the inspector leaves the scene. Not knowing whether or not the subcontractor was being serious or not, Florman never says if he took action in fixing the problem. Instead, Florman goes on about how corrupt the Building Construction industry is and how he holds ethics to a high standard. In the book, “This I believe II”, Brigid Brockway writes an essay called “Sticking My Nose in the World’s Business”. In the essay, Brockway tells a story about a man that he knew who killed his son and then himself. Everyone in the neighborhood acted as though they were shocked, even though most people knew that the man was an abusive father. Even though it is rude to stick your nose into someone else’s business, it is necessary at times. If someone had reported the man before the tragedy, lives would have been saved. Instead, people ignored the abuse and denied the facts. Not to say that Florman denies the truth, but he could have reported the incident in case a violent act would occur. Since reading these two entries I believe that accepting the truth is the beginning to good ethics.