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Enjoy the Spotlight

BOLLING AFB, D.C. -- There is nothing more satisfying than receiving brand new stripes from your commander on promotion day. After that the waiting game begins and you start calculating the numbers to see exactly when you sew on those new stripes.

In a recent Airman's Roll Call titled "Separating promotion release dates for master sergeant, technical sergeant," it explains the reason for separating the two promotion announcements. The article stated "separation will allow individual recognition to promotion selectees from each respective rank and gives Airmen on both promotion lists their day in the spotlight."

So, now your day in the spotlight is here. However, you've decided to take leave or just not attend the promotion ceremony. This also seems to apply to other recognition ceremonies, too, such as Community College of the Air Force graduations and even retirements.

It is military tradition to celebrate achievements, whether they are team or individual events. These celebrations take many forms and are intended to motivate others to excel and to perpetuate our values of service before self and excellence in all we do. The promotion ceremony is no different.

As the promotion order states, it shows the Air Force believes in your abilities to perform at the next higher grade. It is a reward for hard work, dedication, discipline and sacrifice. It is exactly the type of event that should be celebrated, yet many people opt to forego a promotion ceremony.

People sometimes feel that they don't want to inconvenience others or make a big deal about themselves. While these feelings are understandable, these individuals have missed the point of the ceremony it isn't just about them.

The promotee certainly is the focus of the ceremony, but the event itself is as much about tradition as are the attendees and the honoree.

During this event, we heap praise and recognition upon the promotee, hopefully in such a manner as to inspire the audience to strive for their own goals. Commonly overlooked is the fact that these ceremonies are as much about the attendees as the promotee.

Rarely, if ever, are great accomplishments attained single-handedly. In attendance at the ceremony will be coworkers who helped the promotee with that big project, picked them up when they were down, or helped explain the finer points of some technical issue.

In attendance there will be supervisors who mentored, trained, educated and motivated the promotee, often pushing him to accomplish that which the promotee believed impossible. 

Most importantly, their family will be in attendance. Family members who have sacrificed with the promotee to help them reach his or her goal. Attendees have a stake in the promotee's accomplishments - they take just as much, if not more, pride in the promotion. The cermony validates the family member's confidence and investment in that person.

Not attending the ceremony deprives these deserving individuals of an opportunity to share in the celebration of a great achievement in which they have played a major part.

The next time you or your co-worker finally gets that promotion, ensure a ceremony happens. Not only are ceremonies an important tradition that enable us to reinforce our core values, but ceremonies are an opportunity to celebrate with and thank those who helped make the event possible.

Enjoy your day in the spotlight and remember to thank everyone who helped you get there.