What do you think when you see someone in the armed forces walking through an airport?
It makes an impact on me, and sometimes I pause to wonder about their story. Perhaps they are embarking on a journey that will put them in harm’s way, with their mission being to defend and serve our country. Maybe they are coming home from a dangerous deployment overseas to see their loved ones for a few precious days before returning to duty. Often, I feel something that is more than patriotism: it is a humble and sincere sense of gratitude for what they are doing to serve me and others.
There is something admirable, even heroic, about someone who expends significant personal effort for the greater good. We can learn from those who are in the service, such as when they demonstrate:
- Sacrifice, to give up their own comfort for the good of others in the world.
- Courage, to take on something with risk and danger, even if they are afraid.
- Humility, to serve with dedication and loyalty rather than worrying about themselves.
- Purpose, to follow through on something of great importance when others will not.
- Calling, to pursue a higher mission to achieve a greater purpose with their life.
“The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.” (George S. Patton Jr.)
Those in the armed forces are role models in what has become a too-callous, self-absorbed world. A hero is someone who is admired for great acts or fine qualities. Where else can we find heroes today? There are other professions we admire, such as firefighters and policemen, but where else? If we look around, we can see that there are many people who serve, and who also portray attributes such as those above:
- Sacrifice, to give up their time to help someone else.
- Courage, to do something they may be uncomfortable doing.
- Humility, to work on tasks to help others, even if there is little glory in them.
- Purpose, to do something they feel is important and which needs to be done.
- Calling, to follow the vision that they should contribute in a meaningful way.
Whether we realize it or not, part of our purpose on earth is to do what we can to be of service to others. Adding value to the lives of others gives our own life greater meaning as we participate in something that is bigger than us, something that can endure beyond our temporal existence. In return, we can get a great deal of satisfaction from serving others.
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” (Albert Schweitzer)
There are heroes who are “in the service” all around us, and we can learn from them. If you are willing to give some of yourself away to serve, you too can be a hero, and as you find ways to help others, there may be people who learn something from you.
Who do you know that is “in the service” and what can you learn from them?
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