Wyvern Writers - TSgt Sean Ward

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --

Diversity is what unites us. Examining that phrase might seem like the coming together of opposing ideas. Traditionally, diversity is discussed in a way that points out the differences between individuals in a group. These can range from a wide variety of concepts such as physical differences, cultural, emotional, and experiences to name a few. With this much focus dedicated to difference, it can seem hard to spot the unifying characteristics that diversity provides.

One needs only to look around them to see how exactly such a concept can bring us closer together. Some scientific theories suggest that our species owes its very existence to diversity. They suggest that it was the interaction and blending of biologically diverse Homo Sapien, Neanderthal, and Denisovan DNA that spawned humanity as we know it today. We can be certain that It was the interactions of multiple culturally diverse civilizations, such as the Ancient Greeks and Romans for example, who gave us the unifying gifts of Democracy and Republic based governance. The United States is one of only a handful of nations that can claim to have a slice of every single world culture within its borders. The most often referenced microcosm of the ideal diverse society is New York City, an 8 mile stretch of earth and concrete that houses someone from every country amongst the 8.4 million residents. Somehow, they all manage to live and work together in peace. This is a wonderful example of the successful union of a plethora of diverse backgrounds, but I would argue that there are better examples out there.

The United States Air Force, and indeed all the US Armed Services are, in my opinion, the ideal representation of the phrase Diversity is what unites us. The US military is a reflection of the society that birthed it, meaning that we pull from that beautiful tapestry that are the cultures of the nation to form our ranks. We bring together men and women from every race, creed, color, economic background, and talents to name a few, all with a singular goal to strive for. Everyone works together to protect and serve the people back home and our allies abroad. We each have a diverse way in which we do this, be it a pilot flying sorties, or a defender protecting the base, or a mechanic providing safe and serviceable vehicles and aircraft to support the greater mission. We all unite these achievements under a singular goal that benefits ourselves, or allies, our nation, and much of the world.

I am certain that if we were not so diverse, we would not succeed in our mission or as a nation. Every single day, I can say that I learn something from someone else. That person came from a different background, a different education, a different state, and a different culture, but they had something to offer that I did not bring to the table. The mutual exchange of ideas, and experiences is what allows us to continuously provide a quality product to our customers, who then use them, and add their own unique contributions to completing the mission. There is no better way to quantify the benefits of bringing such an extensive variety of differences together than seeing our missions succeed from the contributions we make.

Diversity is something to be proud of, something to celebrate, and something to embrace, for it is our diversity that unites us all.