Every day, we invest in relationships. We focus on building family, business, and personal relationships. We are social beings. We need community and connections to survive. When brave women and men join a branch of the armed forces, it is generally out of a sense of pride, duty, and opportunity. However, in the end, these men and women make unimaginable sacrifices because it’s personal. As social creatures, we make decisions not based on numbers or statistics, but based on personal relevance. Some people join the military out of shared respect for those they know and some join as an opportunity to protect the freedoms the American flag represents. Ultimately, the choice to serve is rooted much deeper and exhibits itself in a bravery few can understand.
The women and men who serve in the United States Armed Forces represent a bond so deep that when called upon, these individuals make selfless sacrifices to protect the people they know. We as a country are fortunate to benefit from the acts made on behalf of these personal relationships. We benefit from their commitment to service. Social bonds create an environment of understanding, empathy, and the willingness to set aside differences to achieve a common goal.
There is a reason that new recruits begin their career in boot camp. This tradition removes the individual from a safe and predictable environment into one that is unfamiliar. It forces them to build relationships and trust in a short period of time that in the end will mean the difference between life and death. These individuals understand that they need to be able to trust those who serve with them. They are able to defend a nation because they are defending a relationship that is personal.
It is easy sometimes for us to push away negative news such as global hunger, civil unrest, or refugees’ struggles because it does not directly affect us, until it does. We choose to get involved when the situation is personal. While November 11th is set aside to remember the men and women who make a personal choice every day to serve, we should remember to emulate their choices and sacrifices all throughout the year. We have the same opportunity to impact the lives of those around us by building personal relationships and putting others before ourselves.
These brave women and men make the choice to serve and defend even if it’s just for one, the one to the right or to the left. Let us honor their sacrifice throughout the year by putting people first and building relationships because, in the end, it’s personal. We can honor their sacrifice by living our lives well.
“Marine leaders are expected to eat last because the true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.” ~ Simon Sinek
How can we best honor the sacrifice made by veterans throughout the year?