A Perspective on Perspective

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Ryan Labadens
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs
Perspective is a funny thing. The way you perceive the world can have a profound effect on different aspects of your life, from your physical health to your mental, emotional and even spiritual well-being.

During this time of year, with all of the holiday shopping and hustle, it's easy to lose perspective - to forget about things we should be thankful for and the thingsĀ in which we hope.

By itself though, perspective does little to actually change the world around you. It's the actions you take as a result of your perspective, as an outpouring of your ideals and beliefs that can effectively make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

That's something I try to remember when I think on a day 68 years ago where thanksgiving and hope were probably furthest thoughts from the minds of most Americans.

Dec. 7, 1941, the day the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor, was meant to be an action that would deter the United States from entering World War II. One of its goals was to foster within the American people the perspective that any confrontation against the Japanese Empire would be a hopeless endeavor, one that would be met with swift and resounding defeat.

Of course, as history shows, these attacks had the opposite effect, and instead rallied a divided American public to the war effort that helped bring an end to Japanese aggression in the Pacific and Nazism in Europe.

The American men and women who fought and sacrificed during this war are a part of what has been referred to as "The Greatest Generation" - those who lived through the misfortunes and hardships of the Great Depression and the trials and triumphs of World War II.

The perspectives and actions of that generation serve as a model for our own - to the Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Coastguardsmen and all those who continue to ensure and protect the freedom we enjoy today.

However, having the freedom to say what's on your mind and in your heart does you no good unless you have the courage to speak it, and having the right to pursue the blessings of life, liberty, and happiness does you no good unless you're willing to defend and to preserve it.

That's something I try to remember when I think of the freedom I have - something I hope I will always be thankful for. I also try to remember that when I consider the men and women serving at home and abroad in the fight against the terrorism and extremism facing our generation today. I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve alongside them.

Perspective may be a funny thing at times, but it is important. The actions you take as a result - not only during this time of the year, but all year round - can make a lasting impression on the world we live in. The Greatest Generation gave us proof of that.