By Command Sergeant Major Jorge Gutierrez, US ARMY, Retired
I had the distinct honor and privilege this weekend of being in the company of Heroes, one in particular, a WWII Veteran and former prisoner of war (POW). My duty was to deliver the key note address during the annual Veteran’s Day Breakfast hosted by the Signal Knob Middle School in Strasburg VA, and by sharing brief thoughts during the Veterans Day Tribute and Celebration hosted by the Restoration Fellowship Church in Strasburg VA.
Overwhelmed with the responsibility and reverence of such events I had cause to reflect, research and seek guidance from the Almighty in order to fin the appropriate words and experiences to share. At the end I was the beneficiary and recipient of great knowledge, blessings and perhaps a touch of wisdom.
Here are 4 important things to reflect and consider during Veterans Day.
1. Thanksgiving Day – While a very important holiday, it truly is a day of giving thanks for the things that we have
2. Veterans Day – We give thanks to the people who fought for the things that we have
3. Honoring our Veterans – We honor our veterans by keeping their memories alive in our hearts and minds. Their service to our Nation and the world must be remembered and thought off with reverence and in relevancy linked to how we live our lives today. They fight, fought and sacrificed their lives; placed the lives of their families and friends on hold so that the rest of us wouldn’t have too – they paved the way to our success, something that is defined separately and individually based on our dreams.
4. A Soldier Died Today – I saw a controversial definition of a soldier a few days back, it went something like this, we think of Soldiers as a job or a career, Warriors are different, they think of what they do as a way of life….I think A. Lawrence Vaincourt does a much better job of getting us to think about a Soldier:
A Soldier Died Today by A. Lawrence Vaincourt
He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.
And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.
He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?
A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.
It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?
He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today.
Specials thanks and gratitude to all the Veterans of our Nation, also to Mayor Taylor of Strasburg, members of the Council and Dr. Raley, Superintendent Shenandoah County Public Schools. Special mention to MS Jaclyn Ryan, Teacher of The Year in the Nation from Signal Knob Middle School in Strasburg VA, Cory Beth, and Pastor Jay Ahlemann from Restoration Church in Strasburg VA and MSG, Retired, John Lewandowski
Jorge Gutierrez is an accomplished and experienced Executive Coach, Business Coach, Leadership Development Coach, Sales Trainer and Consultant. His team of Certified Leadership and Life Coaches partner with individuals to drive growth. Certified to conduct individual and organizational assessments to identify and provide gap analyses and solutions for non-profits and for profit organizations. Jorge’s passion and purpose is to serve others and develop human capital through leadership development and quality of life improvement www.BMOCgroup.com