Looking forward: Whiteman celebrates Black History Month

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- I have always looked forward to February since I was a kid. While it is the shortest of all months, it is the loveliest with Valentine’s Day being in the middle of it. Throughout the month I and others get to reflect on the many contributions African Americans have given to our nation.

I remember when I was in elementary school we would have programs dedicated to Black History. Many of the students would dress up and recite poems or speeches written by or originally delivered by famous African Americans. Our parents and other loved ones would be in the audience cheering us on. It all made me more proud of my heritage.

Years later, I still get that excitement about this month. Now, with me being in the military, I can share my same excitement with those not just from my elementary school or hometown, but with many different people from all walks of life.

Recently, I read a blog where the author, Jemar Tisby, wrote about why people should celebrate Black History Month. He mentioned five reasons, but I would like to discuss three of those he listed: First, Black History Month honors historic leaders of the black community; second, the month highlights the best of Black History and culture; and third, Black History Month creates awareness for all people. Of the five reasons he listed, these resonated with me the most.

During the month of February, we as a nation get to honor leaders in the African American community who help advance our race and our country. I understand many people celebrate these outstanding individuals throughout the year, but during this month, the nation as a whole is paying tribute.

Black History and culture is put in the forefront during the month of February. Many people who may not have knowledge about Black History are able to access to this information. For things like food, dances, and even attire are often displayed, which allows other races to become more diverse and able to relate on another level with black culture.

This ties into the third reason for celebrating Black History Month: It creates awareness for all. I too have learned a few things over the years during this month. While it is a month about African Americans, the events held during the month are not just for African Americans, but for everyone.

Black History Month 2018 is here, and it is my hope that everyone on Whiteman Air Force Base learn something about African Americans they did not know before. I hope some of the events that will take place this month will assist in this endeavor.