The word respect can hold many different meanings to an individual. According to the dictionary, respect is defined as: “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements”. Though the definition of a word is rarely subjective, actions reflecting that word can be.
America is a melting pot of races and religions, and so is the U.S. military. It is for this reason that one should always conduct him/herself in a respectful manner and be completely aware of what is being said – especially when dealing with controversial subjects. All members of the military should be respectful of the cultures of those they serve with, just as they should expect the same level of respect from their comrades.
One of the greatest aspects about the military is that when you join, you become a part of a family. No matter where you come from, you suddenly have a greater purpose and you become a part of something much larger than yourself. In a way, your military environment becomes a part of your identity. Fostering an environment of respect and acceptance is two-fold. Not only are you accepting the service members already serving, but you are also aiding in creating a positive environment for future service members. Though the push for respect across cultures in the military is present, it is often not executed. It is time to create a culture of respect and diversity.
There will always be times when you will disagree with others, but the true reflection of your character shows in how you carry yourself in those times. By lashing out and calling someone a racist slur out of aggravation just looks bad on you and solves no problems. When you are in the military, you are part of a family; you need to stand with your family and not apart. A hope of RallyPoint is to garner these feelings of mutual respect and continue to work towards a symbiotic relationship - despite any cultural differences - within the entire military community. Together, we are all fighting for the same thing: a better life for our future generations and for ourselves. How much does the display of respect mean to you in your life?
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*These opinions belong to the writer and in no way reflect the views of the DoD or other departments of the US government.