January Chaplain's Reflections Published Dec. 28, 2022 By Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Gray 169th Fighter Wing MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” – Psalm 8: 3-4 From the dawn of our creation, humans have gazed in wonder at the night sky as billions of stars shined brightly upon earth. They marveled at birds soaring effortlessly up from the ground into the heavens seemingly free of care, free of the invisible chains that bound all else. Humans dared to break earths bonds and soar free in the air. It was a bold and unattainable dream for thousands of years until in 1903 two brothers did the impossible. Wilbur and Orville Wright grew up in awe of fight. Their favorite toy was a helicopter like device that seemed to break the bonds of earth’s gravity as effortlessly as birds. The brothers began to think of ways that they too could do the same. If birds could fly, so could they! Undaunted by those who said powered human flight was impossible, they began their avian apprenticeship as students in the workshop of their master. The brothers worked tirelessly to understand the complexities of flight. Their gliders crashed many times but eventually they learned the lessons of sustained lift and how to control their aircraft on it’s inevitable descent. The gliders no longer crashed, but now skidded to a halt. They just had to find a way to sustain their brief flight. Gasoline engines existed, but were too heavy. So they designed their own engine. It wasn’t powerful, but it didn’t need to be. What it needed was the right propeller. Boat propellers were to small and were designed to push water, not air. So they designed a propeller that was thinner, longer, and lighter. It was something never seen before and was the last secret to powered human flight. December 17, 1903 at 1035 EST, Orville Wright became the first person to fly like the birds of his childhood dreams. It was a very slow, low flying bird with a flight time of 12 seconds, but it was enough! They proved the “impossible” and their audacious achievement quickly inspired others to reach for the stars. Only 66 years later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were hopping on the moon among the stars as jets from McEntire screamed supersonic speeds across the skies in F-104 Starfighters. The possibility of doing and achieving more is within the grasp of every human who dreams of doing the impossible and endeavors to overcome. This new year offers an empty sky of endless possibilities. A new beginning. A challenge to dream and an invitation to innovate. What do you dare to dream? If it is to strengthen your relationships, we’ve got you covered with three Strong Bonds events: 4 Feb – Couples 14 – 16 Apr – Families 23 – 25 Jun – Individuals To register, please email: 169.FW.169.FW.Chaplains.Org@us.af.mil we would love to have you join us! Whatever your goal is this year we are here to support you. Dream big and get after it!