'Your dreams miss you'

  • Published
  • By Maj. Lawrence Hicks
  • 366th Logisitics Readiness Squadron commander
A popular commercial from network television features a deep sea diver, President Lincoln, and a beaver touting a new brand of sleep aid. As eccentric as a talking rodent is, what stands out to me even more is the tag line of the commercial, "your dreams miss you." 

In many ways that statement speaks volumes to us today. Our pace of life, especially in the military, is so hectic the creativity of our Airmen has been stifled a great deal. As a result, the dreams and dreamers of our Air Force are muted. 

Perhaps the American best known for having a dream is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King's dream inspired millions to take up the cause of human rights. His dream was vast. It embodied the words of our founding fathers, "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator certain unalienable rights." 

He dreamed at a time when it was not en vogue to dream. It would have been just as easy for Dr. King to "fit in" with the crowd, but he chose to dream. 

Even today, some will tell you there is no place for dreams, dreamers or dreaming. The world has become a place where it is "cool" to be a conformist, but it isn't cool to be a dreamer. 

It isn't cool to tell someone you dream of becoming a chief master sergeant. 

It isn't cool to tell someone you dream of being a colonel or general officer. 

It isn't cool to tell someone you dream of being a college graduate, earning your commission, master's degree or doctorate degree. 

It isn't cool to dream of becoming a doctor, lawyer, politician or an entrepreneur. 

It just isn't cool to speak of being greater than the person you currently are. 

If you speak of your dream, many will misconstrue your dream as arrogance and self-serving. Just ask Orville and Wilbur Wright. Wilbur stated, "For years I have been afflicted with the dream and belief that flight is possible to man." Many doubted, but in December 1903 they accomplished the first powered flight for man. 

Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell, one of the fathers of militarized air power, dared to dream that air power would one day control wars. Many doubted him, and he was even court-martialed for his stance. Later he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, and we now stand and execute upon his principles of air power. 

Even Coach Chris Peterson dared to dream. He dreamed that his Boise State University football team could go undefeated and kick the snot out of an overrated University of Oklahoma team in the Fiesta Bowl. 

The point is, anything great probably started as a dream. 

I deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, last year, and I now understand the significance of dreams more than ever. I was tasked as the advisor to Gen. Abdul Ameer, the director of logistics for the Iraqi air force. General Ameer never asked for much, but there was one thing he asked for more than anything else - to dine at the coalition dining facility. 

We would go in out of the 125 degree heat into the air conditioning to cool off and to have lunch or dinner. One day while eating I asked General Ameer, "Do you like the food here that much?" He looked at me and between bites said, "No. I hate the American food." I responded with only a puzzled look on my face. 

He pointed his fork at me and said, "But when I come in here, I can imagine that I am not in Baghdad. When I come in here, I can dream that I am somewhere else - no rockets, no mortars, no kidnappings, no murders, nothing bad." 

After that, I began to realize that General Ameer had a dream - a simple dream of living a peaceful life. Like many Iraqis, he eventually moved his family out of the country for their safety, but he still pursues his dream. He navigates the dangerous streets of Baghdad and goes to the Ministry of Defense every day in spite of bombings and death threats. He holds on to his dream of a better and more peaceful Iraq. 

As I thought about General Ameer, I began to realize that in my life I have let go of dreams for far, far less than a threat to me or my family's well being. 

So I encourage you to not let your dream die. Too many dreams and success stories are never realized because someone let them pass away. 

Dr. King knew that he would not see the fulfillment of his dream, but that did not stop him. That did not hinder him in pursuing what he believed was just and righteous. He did not shelve his dream just because it was going to be "too hard" or "take too long" to achieve. He didn't stop because it couldn't be executed in this fiscal year. 

He held on to his dream much like General Ameer holds on to his today. 

The great thing about living in this country is your dream can be what you want it to be. Dream for yourself, dream for your family and dream for your community and world. Your dreams of today are the future of your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren and all future generations. 

Your dreams beget hope. Your hope begets a cause. Your cause begets your reason to live. It begets your mission - the mission for which you were placed here on earth. 

Come back. Your dreams miss you.