My first thoughts when looking at the calendar were, “Oh good, a three-day weekend!” I had a completely different subject for a blog I’ve been working on the last two weeks. In the quiet of the morning, my heart tugged at me to draw attention as to the reasons why we have a holiday on Monday.
Just like any other time in my life I need information – I went to Google to see the official definition of the Memorial Day Holiday (and the link led me to Wikipedia, the other great source of insight). Here’s what it said:
“Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.”
So I want to use this time and space to say “thank you” to those currently serving our country. “Thank you” to the veterans who have served in the past. And the ultimate “thank you” to those that have given their lives while serving.
Just a small sample of my military heroes:
1) My deceased grandfather who served in North Africa during World War II.
2) Former NFL safety Pat Tillman who turned down a mult-million dollar contract to serve as an Army Ranger, and ended up losing his life.
3) My friend Jeff from high school that made it through Ranger and Green Beret training.
4) My deceased brother-in-law Charlie who served in the Navy.
5) The deceased Major Dick Winters, a man I never met – but highly influenced my leadership style after reading about how he conducted himself during World War II. Here are some of his highlights summarized from various portions of the book Band of Brothers by Steven Ambrose:
“Winters was one of the leaders of the United States Airborne Division ‘Easy Company’ during World War II. It was a company that ended up taking 150 percent casualties and considered the Purple Heart a badge of office. In Band of Brothers, Ambrose chronicles how Major Winters earned the respect of the men under his command by having high demands, but also by participating in everything that they did. Winters personal code was: ‘Follow me.’ He was described by the soldiers as a leader that took out more enemy troops – and entered into more risks than anyone else. Even after the war was officially declared over, Winters could be found doing midnight training exercises with new recruits, while his fellow officers ‘cavorted in Paris.'”
This entry was discovered in Winters personal journal, “I did not forget to get on my knees and thank God for helping me to live through this day and ask for his help on D-Day plus one . . .”
My apologies to anyone I forgot to mention in this brief discourse. Have a wonderful Memorial Day – and please leave a comment telling me about your military hero.