The burden of responsibility

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Seven months ago I stood in front of many of you and took responsibility for all of you. While clearly the buck stops at my desk, each of us shares the burden of responsibility for all of us.

The burden of responsibility can be measured in the weight of a newborn, it can be expressed in the words "I do," it can be heard at the other end of a phone call, it can be celebrated at a graduation, it can be seen with a job promotion, it can be felt on the field of play, it can be enjoyed with a friend, and it can be worn with a uniform. If you think about it, each of us can vividly recall the times in our lives when the burden of responsibility was expressly sharp.

The burden of responsibility is never relieved. While it may subside in its acuteness, it is omnipresent. For each of us in the business of service, the burden expands beyond responsibility for self.

We have a responsibility to those we serve with, to the tax payers who pay our salaries, and to the congress that appropriates and allocates those hard earned monies. The burden of responsibility is doing the right thing when no one is watching, it is stopping prior to the point of excess, it is interceding at the right time, it is in doing all the little things as if they were big things, it is stepping up to the plate and getting involved.

So, here's my point: no one gets a free ride on the burden of responsibility train.

Just think about it for a moment; we are all responsible for and to someone else. Look at your dorm-mate, your next door neighbor, your office buddy, your co-worker out on the line, your friend across the table - you are responsible to and for them.

It's not an easy gig when you think about it, but then our job to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States is not suppose to be easy, for we are "called" to the service. Cowboy up, step up, and giddy-up - it's all about bucking-up to the responsibility we each have.