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Social distanced, united like never before

U.S. Air Force Chaplain speaks to crowd

Lt. Col. Elwin St. Rose, 375th Air Mobility Wing Chaplain, makes remarks during Candle Light Vigil for a Brighter Future event hosted at the parade field at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., June 25, 2020. As a chaplain, Rose believes the chaplain corps is a supporting agency for the Airmen of the 375th AMW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

People light each other's candle

Attendees of the Candle Light Vigil for a Brighter Future event light each other’s candles at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., June 25, 2020. While at the event, members were encouraged to light candles and share a moment in unity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

Airmen speaking to each other

Tech. Sgt. Kweshi Raymond, 436th Supply Chain Operations Squadron C-130 sustainment flight NCO in charge, left, speaks with Col. J. Scot Heathman, 375th Air Mobility Wing commander, right, during the Candle Light Vigil for a Brighter Future event hosted at the parade field at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., June 25, 2020. During the event, Heathman spoke with various Airmen in attendance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

Women talk to each other

Attendees of the Candle Light Vigil for a Brighter Future event discuss life experiences while the event comes to a close at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., June 25, 2020. The event lasting from 8 to 9 p.m., hosted more than 100 people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

People holding hands

Attendees hold hands in prayer during the Candle Light Vigil for a Brighter Future event hosted at the parade field at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., June 25, 2020. Members of the event reflected on current situations around the world and focused on unity. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --

As the sun set over the Scott Parade Field, Airmen and their families gathered – distanced socially, but together in spirit.

Members of Team Scott met at the Scott AFB parade field, open and spacious place, to hold a “Candlelight Vigil for a Brighter Future” and reflect on recent events, June 25, 2020.

“This event is important because it brings Team Scott together,” said Lt. Col. Elwin St. Rose, 375th Air Mobility Wing Chaplain. “It brings us together in solidarity, common purpose and common cause. I think in the light of everything that has been happening around us and around the nation, this is tremendously important.

“I feel excited,” he continued. “I am happy that we have individuals on this base, with conjunction with leadership, [who] took initiative to plan this program. It allows us a time to reflect, get away from the challenges and requirements of the day, and just come and focus on a single purpose.”

The excitement was not exclusive to Rose, others at the event explained their purpose for attending.

“I went to the event because I felt that as a member of the Armed Forces it’s hard to share your opinions with others that are not in the service and that this vigil was an opportunity to support this cause in a safe environment,” said Airman 1st Class Nicholas A. Kozak, 375th Medial Support Squadron medical logistics technician. “I thought that the event was a positive way to show that we as a people are frustrated that there is racism and hate in the United States.”

“What stuck with me the most about the event was when the speaker talked of how citizens of the United States come from diverse backgrounds and have different experiences that make us who we are and that the idea that one set of people is inferior to another is just wrong,” Kozak elaborated.

St. Rose spoke in his capacity as the 375th AMW chaplain. In the Air Force, chaplains serve as religious guides and counsels for Airmen that need to discuss issues that may be on their mind.

“In a situation like this, where we have our people coming together, the chapel plays a supportive role as well,” St. Rose explained. “We are not isolated from what this means and what this is. We are in it to support the mission, but also to support our people.”

During the event, members and their families listened to the chaplain’s words of togetherness. After he spoke, attendees across the parade field could be seen in moments of reflection or prayer. Additionally, they shared life experiences with each other. The focus of the event was unity.

“Unity is a very interesting word,” St. Rose mused. “Before I tell you what it means to me, I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean to me. Unity doesn’t mean that we are all doing the same thing in the exact same way. Unity is the concept of harnessing our energy with our differences, the variety, diversity – and yet we can bring all our energy for a common purpose to make sure something happens.”

So, unity for me is purpose. We all come together, we are male, we are female, we are short, we are tall, we are from different ethnic backgrounds, we have different orientations and religious beliefs – and yet we can come together for a common purpose. That is what unity is – the concept of purpose,” he concluded.