Thoughts on Dr. Flowers

By Christian Hosam, Guest Writer

If  Dr. Charles Herbert Flowers, who died on January 28 at the age of 92, was anything, he was humble.  However, his actions and his accolades did more than enough to make people take notice.   A teacher, a war hero, a mentor, a family man, and so much more, Dr. Flowers was never one to allow social and cultural norms define his actions and certainly not his character.  He served his country in World War II as a Tuskegee Airman at a time when African-Americans were looked at as second-class citizens, not only unwilling, but unable to do the work of Caucasian-Americans.  He graduated at the top of his class to become a flight instructor and personally trained over 100 pilots that went into combat.  He then left an indelible mark at North Carolina Central University, helping to establish a student government and campaigning successfully to become its first president.  Then, he moved to Maryland, landing a job at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt in 1965 as an electrical technician and working his way up to Manager of Employee Relations, retiring in 1990.  Even in passing, Dr. Flowers remains symbolic of so many of the things that we as teenagers often concern ourselves with during our years in high school years.  The prospect of being able to provide for ourselves as we mature, finding stability in an unstable world, overcoming the stereotypes that seem to attempt to define and marginalize us, and creating our own path where one has not been charted.  As we mourn his death, we should remind ourselves not just of the mountains that Dr. Flowers climbed but of the calm, unassuming manner in which he climbed them and allow that to resonate in our hearts.  If we focus on the ideals of hard work, extreme diligence, and unfailing determination that he espoused, then we can hope to replicate the level of success that he achieved and the reverence that he earned during his legendary, illustrious life – CHRISTIAN HOSAM, Class of 2011 President