Few things highlight great acts of selflessness and heroism more than tragedy. This weekend’s helicopter crash in Afghanistan was a horrific loss for the families of our fallen warriors, but also for our nation as a whole. The men who perished in the crash were in fact our nation’s best. They were courageous men who placed service above self, who went places and did things that most of us could never conceive of, and who died to protect our freedom and way of life. What I’m struggling with is whether or not as a country we are deserving of their sacrifice…
I spent a great deal of my weekend just watching people. We are a nation at war, a world in economic crisis, a planet in moral decay, and yet most people I observed just go through the motions of their daily lives seemingly void of what happens beyond the shopping malls, golf courses, and various other forms of alternate reality. I’ve been feeling for quite some time that people are disconnected from any reality that isn’t immediately visible to them, and I’m increasingly troubled by the cavalier attitudes of the those in “leadership.” Yet in times such as these there are still men and women willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so that others may live their lives and exercise their individual freedoms. We lost some of these extraordinary men this weekend, and I hope their loss jolts us from our fog of ignorance, apathy, and naiveté.
The sad reality is that human nature adversely affects our perspective in that service is often undermined by short-sighted self interest. What most people intuitively understand, but fail to keep at the forefront of their thinking, is that our personal success and fulfillment will be much more closely tied to how we help others than what we do for ourselves…While there are many motivating factors which underpin a leader’s decisioning, nothing is intrinsically more pure, and more inspiring than the call to serve. The dedication and commitment required to be a true servant leader requires a level of personal sacrifice that can only be instilled by a passionate belief in a greater good…something beyond one’s self. As a nation we need to honor this weekend’s loss by living-up to the example set by our troops. We need to move away from self-interest and toward service. The good news is greatness overcomes tragedy, and the power of a lasting and honorable legacy can fuel greatness that spans generations.
Between ongoing military conflicts and wars, brutal acts of dictators, famines, droughts, violent flash mobs, riots, the frequency of economic calamity, and the almost daily forms of political hi-jinks and chicanery, it is impossible to view the current state of world affairs and not be troubled. Yet most people act as if nothing is wrong, and that everything will be okay. Will it? Perhaps, but of one thing I’m certain – we’ll never return to the world we knew growing up. What’s particularly troubling is that our children and grandchildren may never experience the innocence and charm of the childhoods we knew.
Other than in its creation our world has never been perfect, and we’ll likely never experience perfection going forward. That’s okay, and most of us can accept that fact. What’s difficult for me is that we live in far too dangerous times to exhibit such callous disregard for anything other than ourselves, and if we as a nation don’t wake-up to this fact we will continue to see more chaos. Our nation was built on the high cost of sacrifice by those willing to see beyond themselves, and today it is defended by such men and women. But know this – they cannot preserve ideals that we ignore, do not honor, or refuse to embrace. Hoping everything will get better is not the same thing as doing something about it.
In a time where our world is starved for those who take action on behalf others, if nothing else, let us honor those who did just that with their sacrifice this weekend. My advice is simple, don’t pretend everything is okay and ignore the examples of heroism, but rather pray for our military and their families while keeping them in the forefront of our thoughts and actions. The more we adopt a servant’s heart and a warrior’s commitment and discipline the better off we will all be. The following links will take you to just a few of the organizations’ who would gladly accept your contribution of money or service. If you cannot do either of those, at least honor our troops and their families by not forgetting what they give for you at such great cost to themselves and their loved ones.
- Navy SEAL Foundation
- EOD Memorial Foundation
- Ranger Memorial Foundation
- Special Operations Foundation
- Honor the Fallen
If you want to comment or offer support to our troops and their families via this platform I’d encourage you to do so.