Friday, May 23, 2014

A Word About Sacrifice

A Word about Sacrifice

Like some Americans, I am guilty of getting hung up on some materialistic and luxury items. Today I caught myself complaining that my company didn't give us Memorial Day off. Then I remembered what it was all about, and shut my mouth.

To those of you that know me, shutting my mouth is somewhat of a foreign concept. I've never been a stranger to making my opinion known. In some ways, I'm doing that right now, and quite frankly, I have no shame about it.

Starting in EMS, then moving to emergency dispatching, then law enforcement, I got to see my fair share of death, misery, and destruction. This doesn't even begin to hold a candle to what close friends and co workers of mine have seen in combat zones. Things that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

My dear friend and mentor passed away several years ago now. I miss him very much. I can't begin to imagine the ache that a parent feels of the loss of a child in service. I worked with a young lady who lost her brother in Afghanistan. A young life cut short. She never really discussed the hurt with me, as we weren't close, but you could see it in her eyes. That always stuck with me. An older co worker once said of his child in service that “It's easier to go off to war yourself than to see your child go off to war”.

I would also like to point out that all of the Gold Star Families I have met have something in common: they don't complain. Not at all. Even though they are hurt, they speak of how proud they are that their child, brother, sister, spouse had served. That they were just doing their job. But no one complains.

I recently gave up my seat on a flight to a gentleman headed to a specialist appointment. He was a service member with a prosthetic. I don't tell you this because I'm trying to tell you how great I am. I'm telling you this because that man taught me something. He taught me that he had a smile with one foot. That he didn't give up. That I could make the journey of multiple connections easier than him, but he wouldn't complain if he did. If he's missing an appendage, than he probably knows some people who gave it all. And to all of them, thank you. And God bless you.

To the rest of us: Take a minute. Stop comparing what you have versus what your friends have. Take inventory of the fact you're alive, have what you have for limbs, and you're not being shot at. And be thankful some stranger died in the name of freedom so we could be here.