Recently , I’ve been given the opportunity to meet, interact with , learn about and drill with seasoned soldiers.
I’m grateful to begin to learn their stories firsthand, begin to understand their views on country, honor, duty , discipline and sacrifice.
Learning military history , heroes stories , motivational and inspirational words and circumstances, the value of a properly dressed out uniform, crisp march and salute , words and behaviors ; with my purpose of simply expressing my gratitude and support .
Admittedly, I didn’t have the knowledge and understanding of a lot of the protocol, jargon and repetition ; the drill sergeant shared with me that a well disciplined and trained team lead to courageous execution. This makes a lot of sense given what’s at stake .
One of the soldiers I encountered speaks five languages, served 17 years in the Army , injured his leg on an IED and continues to train , service and teach applying his knowledge in physics , engineering and medical training.
Another was a woman deployed overseas three times and her husband deployed seven times ; on one occasion , they were both deployed at the same time with five kids at home. They found family and friends to take the kids while they were overseas. She was severely injured and it took her nearly 2 1/2 years to walk properly again about the same time she and her husband adopted two boys ages two and three.
Living on a farm she took seriously training and preparedness for emergencies and spent time with the two and three year olds , making sure they understood basics of first aid etc.
Sure enough , when they were four and five years old , she sliced her own hand and the two boys jumped into action , grabbing the first aid kit , stopping the bleeding , cleaning , bandaging and calling the doctor and the dad at work and they took care of mom.
I can go on as to why and what these folks told me , and I might in future blogs;
I admire them , appreciate and respect them as most of us do . I owe them my time to listen ,build some empathy, and perpetuate and honor their service and memories.
These folks come from every professional walk of life and really believe in and embrace the defense of our country and all it stands for .
One of our instructors teaches the honor guard drill team ; these are drills, dress and rituals to honor the deceased soldiers at their funerals with the utmost precision and respect for the families in attendance. Can’t think of a more important role to play.
An experienced drill sergeant in charge of some of these sessions told stories of duty, honor and respect of heroes in military history and when he did this , he became emotional and did his best to hide the tears.
I have a little bit better understanding of why he did that and the importance of acknowledging the service and sacrifice of the veterans we see every day.
While I came in to this experience intending to observe and thank these soldiers , and I have , I find myself participating , embracing their values and beliefs and preparing for what I can do to actively support them .
I quickly realized that anyone of us can be called upon to help in someway and need to prepare in our own way and for a variety of circumstances.
Now , they are looking at me , not as an observer, but if I am around and going through what they’re going through , they’re making sure I take it seriously, I do this properly , and am as prepared as possible to have their backs if we are presented with some emergency.
I realize , as all of them have experienced and know all to well , there will be a time , when this is not a drill .
All the military movies and books I’ve taken in , come flashing back and all have some degree of realism whether comedy or serious . The military is an institution with its faults , successes , critics and issues , but it is made up of people who are dedicated to what they do , join for a variety of reasons and grow united in a common purpose , dedicated to one another and determined to be as prepared and professional as they can be .
Fighter pilots , cyber security professionals, paratroopers, chaplains , medical personnel , sharpshooters , this finance guy , old and young coming together .
What a great country ! 👍💪🇺🇸