Yesterday was Veteran’s Day and I’m not so sure that I gave it the appropriate consideration. After all, it wasn’t a day off of work, family didn’t get together, there were no presents exchanged and no big meal to celebrate. As such, I went into it without any real concern for it other than to realize that banks are closed and the mail won’t run.
For my father-in-law, it’s an entirely different story. He was in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years and spent a good part of his service time in Vietnam. The experience he had as a Marine and in Vietnam has a significant part of his life story and has affected who he is now in many different ways. He has paid a price physically and emotionally, consequences that his family undoubtedly had to deal with, as well. He served well, and although it was for a few years where he put on the uniform, the service has extended and affected his life even to this day. Thank you, Peppy.
My dad joined the Army and became a helicopter pilot, serving two tours in Vietnam. He ended up spending 27 years in the Army and attained significant career success. Obviously, 27 years of service affects you and who you are. The travel and demands on the time of a career soldier and his service also affected our family in ways that matter. He served well and his service affected his life even to this day. Thank you, dad.
There is no greater position than the position of one that serves another. When you elevate that Truth to focus in on the level of service that is involved when a person actually puts themself in harm’s way for the sake of others, the obligation of honor is enormous. I’m afraid we have the idea of honor in our society pretty screwed up. Too often, we base it on external measurements of success and possessions. Our offerings of honor are positional; if someone is “higher” than me in some great organizational chart of significance, then I should think highly of them. If they are serving me in some way or are “lower” than me (e.g. waiters, employees, children, etc.), then MY will be done.
I’ve heard of a pastor in California talk about creating a “culture of honor” around the city where he works. Elevate those around us regardless of their position with compliments, generous tips and unwarranted gifts and expect nothing back. Have a heart and mind towards the person that we are interacting with in a way that our kind words and sincere concern for their situation changes the culture of the interaction, becomes contagious and spreads. The results in that city are apparently pretty amazing.
So, today, the day after Veteran’s Day, I say thank you to those that have served and are serving . . . specifically to those associated with the military but more broadly to all who sacrifice in any way for another. Tomorrow I will choose to do the same.