Nov 102013 8 Responses

Act Like a Veteran Everyday

Whenever I perform a wedding I almost always tell the bride and groom the same thing before they make their vows.

I remind them they are committing their lives to one another—literally they are promising to die for one another (Remember, don’t have sex with someone until they are willing to die for you). Yet rarely is a spouse required to give their lives for the other in one dramatic act. It’s possible. Someone could pull a gun which requires a husband to throw himself in front of the bullet to save his wife. Yet that is the exception, not the rule.

Far more often than one dramatic act, what is required of a husband and wife is to sacrifice themselves for the other in a thousand different small ways day after day.

Before I perform the vows, I want to remind the couple this is what they are agreeing to do—to sacrifice themselves in large ways or small over the lifetime of their marriage. Chances are, the success of their marriage depends on their ability not in the dramatic moments but in the mundane moments. Will they be willing to put their spouse before themselves.

As I look at our country, what we desperately need are citizens who are willing to act like veterans. Yet we don’t need them to do so in a dramatic act of war, we need them to do so in the routine and mundane aspects of every day life.

Consider what veterans have done:

They have made themselves available to be problem solvers. They don’t just complain. They don’t whine. They actually do something about what they see. They become actively involved in making things better. (See: The Devil Doesn’t Need an Advocate)

They have placed country above themselves. In the midst of a “me-first,” individual culture, veterans have chosen to delay their own hopes and dreams in order to do what is best for the country. Their families sacrifice so the country can succeed.

They have suspended their own political preferences. Active duty personnel do not believe less than the average American, but their job requires that they submit their own political beliefs for the greater good. There is a time in which they can exercise their political thought, but for the most part they hold their opinions to themselves while doing the work which must be done.

They have given a unique service without expecting or receiving special treatment. A veteran’s vote doesn’t count more than someone who never served. Being a veteran doesn’t guarantee political office or a more prominent role in society. Veterans serve in order for every American citizen to be equal. They serve so that I might have the same right to state my opinion as they do. They do a special service without special treatment. (See: You Don’t Have to Scratch Mine)

Veterans offer their lives so that we might have freedom.

As they do in dramatic ways, every American citizen should do in the routine and mundane ways of life.

We need to act like a veteran, every single day in the most routine of ways.

We need to make ourselves available as problem solvers. Stop complaining. Stop whining. Stop talking about how America is going to hell in a hand basket. And do something—tutor a kid, coach a team, clean up your neighborhood, give money to a charity, just do something.

We need to place country about ourselves. Yes we have individual rights, but unless we do something, our children won’t have these rights. Place country above ourselves and decrease our Medicare expenditures, cut Social Security payouts, trim Defense spending, so we can begin to get our debt under control.

We need to suspend our political preferences. We have opportunities to be political, but after the vote is over, stop serving the party and start serving the country. Be willing to compromise, make deals, and while not getting everything you want, get something done (and don’t forget the difference between compromise and capitulation).

We need to serve without expecting something for our service. This is a foreign concept in America today. Most of us are only willing to do something if we think we are going to get great fame or riches in return. What we need is more people willing to serve without expecting something in return.

If we did this; if we acted in small ways the way veterans have acted in dramatic ways, it would accomplish two things:

1. It would make our country great. America depends on ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things in everyday life.

2. It would deeply honor our veterans. What better way to honor those who have served us than by emulating their service in our everyday lives.

It’s Veterans Day. It’s a reminder of those who have served on our behalf. As you thank veterans today, make sure you act like a veteran as well.

8 Responses to Act Like a Veteran Everyday

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