“To improve the lives of others. “
Sgt. Dietrich Schmieman’s words can be found in the Heroes Tree on the Tri-Cities campus of Washington State University.
The Richland native died in 2017 when his military cargo plane crashed in Mississippi, but his message lives on for those who visit the new WSU Veterans Memorial on the Richland campus.
His parents and another Richland native, retired General James Mattis, were on hand Tuesday for the dedication.
“The essence of leadership is serving others,” Mattis told the rally. “… Forget all the leadership theory you read in business school. “
The former US Secretary of Defense came to the Richland campus for the unveiling of the expanded Veterans Memorial and a new leadership library named in his honor.
The Stories Veterans Memorial features a sculpture inscribed with stories of local veterans. It was originally installed in 2012.
The expansion includes a new concrete base, flag poles for the American flag and flags from all service branches. And the Schmieman family donated benches for the site.
And the leadership library is part of a renovation of the campus veterans center.
The library was made possible through the efforts of C. Mark Smith and the Richland Rotary Club of the Tri-Cities. It houses books cited by Mattis in his autobiography, “Call Sign Chaos”.
The effort was initiated by veterans and WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes.
Mattis’ playlist draws inspiration from all of history, such as Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs, “My American Journey” by Colin Powell, and “Meditations” by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Mattis said the challenges these leaders have faced are timeless.
And he said that the quality of a leader can determine the strength and performance of an organization.
“Life is too short to learn everything from experience,” Mattis told reporters after the event. “In these books we can find situations similar to those we face today. … We can study how women and men in the past have handled situations successfully or not.