Public Servants Exemplify Integrity, Selflessness, Excellence

May 6, 2012

For as long as I can remember, I have considered public service — that is, making the public welfare a life's work — to be a noble calling. From our smallest towns to our largest cities and institutions, the example of Americans serving others has inspired and motivated me. In my mind, the act of public service directly contributes to the democratic ideals of a vibrant and engaged citizenry that the founders regarded as vital to our form of government.

There is no question that a government career, whether at the federal, state or other level, can be challenging. As Benjamin Franklin quipped: "The first mistake in public business is the going into it." Public service is not easy — it is continually buffeted not only by political, social and economic winds but by real internal tensions within our Constitution. Democracy, as Franklin noted, is "an invitation to struggle."

Nevertheless, and fortunately for our nation, many choose to go into public service and they perform extraordinarily well. I have enjoyed the privilege of serving alongside some of our nation's most dedicated public servants — the men and women of the U.S. military, including our active, Guard, Reserve and civilian airmen of the Air Force. Every day they continue to be an inspiration and an example to follow. 

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