EASTMAN -- As Brig. Gen. Cedric George spoke Wednesday at Middle Georgia State Colleges aviation school, three large pictures stood next to him.
The images were of Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Jesus. When George was growing up in the 1960s, he said, those were the pictures that greeted everyone who walked into his familys house.
The story and legacy of these three leaders were deeply a part of the George family, he said. They had beautiful commonalities ... the cause of righteousness, service above self, a zeal for fairness and equal treatment, a hope and love for all.
He made the comments to about 80 students and staff at the school as part of a Black History Month program.
George is the first black commander of what is now called Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, formerly the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center.
He said his late father, who served in the Army in Korea and Vietnam, was one of his greatest inspirations.
My dad joined an Army that was totally different than the Army you and I understand today, he said. If you were a black man in the Army, the message was, you are not smart enough to do real jobs. You did cooking. You did cleaning.
Yet, his father maintained a deep faith in America and instilled in his children the importance of patriotism and hard work, George said.
His fathers younger brother was killed in Vietnam.
George credited a shop teacher in high school with convincing him that he had much potential.
He saw in me something that I did not see in myself, George said.
In introducing George, Middle Georgia State College President Christopher Blake talked about the importance of Black History Month.
Black History Month is a way in which we are helping educate the public about the many strains of the human family that have contributed to the growth of civilization, he said.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.