This type of dedication and commitment can be found all around us, but have we lost the real meaning of what this act means? The Bible states that there is no greater love than for someone to lay down their life for their friends.
One of my heroes and mentors, John L. Behan, was the celebrated first recruit from Paris Island in 1967. He was a standout athlete from Montauk, NY and had a promising future ahead of him and the epitome of a “Marine!” He came back from Vietnam in 1968 missing both of his legs and many other severe, life-threatening injuries. I'm sure many people felt sorry for him or thought that somehow it would limit him in his future.
Instead, John became an Olympian and an NYS Assemblyman and head of the NYS Veterans Affairs under President Reagan, a well-respected leader in his community and a national hero. And yet, when you speak to John and men like him, they talk about the guys that didn't make it home.
I have talked with many members of the military, Policemen, and Firemen, and most seem to have that one thing in common, those that are living, speak about the ones they lost. The real heroes are the ones that showed the ultimate in love and sacrifice by laying down their lives for us: to protect our freedom and our way of life. Most don't like to be referred to as “heroes,” they typically say they were just doing their job and look to their fallen brothers and sisters as “heroes.”
The “Military Industrial Complex,” has provided us many great things, like the Internet, lasers and drones and new technologies. It has also cost us hundreds of thousands of lives. Today, modern warfare enables us to have fewer men and women on the “front lines” risking their lives; while there are still so many of our young men and women coming home with serious injuries or not at all. Over 5,000 young men and women, heroes, have sacrificed their lives since 9-11-01.
“War” and warfare have changed. When the “enemy” knows that you can send unmanned drones from miles away and bomb you and they have nobody to shoot at; and when you can send hundreds of missiles from hundreds of miles away, it changes engagement. With a change in modern warfare, the “enemy” has changed their tactics and has put innocent women and children on the front lines. They know they can't win or even compete with the power of the US Military, so they have now chosen to do the unthinkable and just attack civilians.
The terror attack in Manchester, England is only the most recent example of a new battle strategy. If they can't win in a traditional theater of combat, then change it.
This now places women and children in danger, but it also improves our military presence. Those trained to be soldiers and fight in combat now have to be on our streets. Police and Firefighters that are not trained in military tactics must now become better trained and more prepared for these type of cowardly attacks on our civilians.
While I don't like the overuse of the word, “hero,” many of these Police and Firefighters and first responders that are civilians that signed on to protect their communities and go home at night to their families, have unfairly been placed in “combat” and “military zones,” far too often.
On Memorial Day, I ask that we thank those men and women that have made the ultimate sacrifice and have shown the ultimate love by laying down their lives for us, and also pray for those that put themselves in harms way, both near and far to protect us, keep us safe and rescue us in our time of need.
God Bless America - #MemorialDay #MotivateAmerica #MotivationMonday
Kevin L. McCrudden wrote this article. Kevin is an international author and speaker and President & CEO of Motivate America, Inc. He writes a weekly column on Mondays, “Motivation Mondays©” and has a weekly Podcast / Radio Show on Sundays with thought leaders and motivational speakers, “Motivate America with Kevin L. McCrudden.” Contact him through social media or his website for speaking engagements, www.KevinMcCrudden.com