An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The gift

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Steve McDonald
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Command Chief
Throughout the course of the last week of October, I noticed several situations that made me think about generosity. Before I tell you about those situations, I want to define generosity. I know everyone has a basic understanding of what generosity means, but a good definition is "readiness or liberality in giving."

There are some people who give very generously. During that week, there was a certain day where the wing was inundated with care packages from many different organizations. I'm not sure why so many showed up on the same day, but it was impressive. We had an abundance of basic toiletry items and other things.

There are multiple organizations that continually mail care packages to deployed service members. The founders and managers of those organizations knowingly and willingly devote a lot of time and money to send these items to Kandahar.

Additionally, the people who contribute money, items and time to sort these packages give freely of their resources. And regardless how much we have or don't have, getting a care package from someone who cares about us being here makes people feel good. Their actions definitely fit the definition of generosity.

The second situation that made me think of generosity was the fallen comrade ceremonies held during the last week of November. It may seem strange to talk about generosity in connection with fallen comrade ceremonies, but I can't think of a better definition of generosity. I have attended 41 dignified transfer ceremonies since I arrived at the end of July.

These service members gave the ultimate gift, their very lives. And although they didn't do it knowingly, they did do it willingly. The potential is inherent in what we do. All Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and coalition military members know that by serving in the armed forces and being stationed at Kandahar, we are in harm's way. But we all knew that when we joined the military. We are here willingly ... ready to give our own lives if necessary in service to our country and to this war.

It may not seem right to compare someone sending care packages to someone giving their life for others. I do not wish to minimize the sacrifice of our fallen comrades. I only hope to show each of you that there are very generous people who care about you and are giving of themselves for you ... many give some and some give all.

We all truly have many, many reasons to be grateful.