COMMENTARY: Ask What Can You Do for Your Country

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy, invoked my generation to “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

We are fortunate to live in a free and democratic society where millions of civilians and soldiers serve their fellow citizens.Today is Veteran’s Day and the weekend provided the nation a special opportunity to honor and express gratitude to the millions of living military veterans and thousands of active duty men and women who have or are serving our country.

In 1995, an Air Force pilot named Scott O’Grady was shot down during a flight mission over Bosnia. He was rescued by helicopter after surviving six days being hunted by hostile ground troops. Though given a hero’s welcome he insisted he was no hero and that he wanted no honors.

In explaining his position rejecting special recognition he said [It] “is your depth of commitment, your quality of service, the product of your devotion — these are the things that count in a life. When you give purely, the honor comes in the giving, and that is honor enough.”

Other great men have told us of the true rewards of service. Albert Schweitzer said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Walter Reuther, a leader of the labor movement echoed the sentiment this way: “There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.”

 

This excerpt from a poem called “You Don’t Know Me,” by Linda Ellis,  provides a perspective and a tribute that transcends politics. (She also wrote the classic poem “The Dash.”)

Although you don’t know me, every day, I think of you.
I worry about your safety and I pray for you, too.

Although you don’t know me, please know that I care.
Though strangers, we are family in the beliefs that we share.

Although you don’t know me, I know the work that you’re doing
and the pride in our country that you are renewing.

Although you don’t know me, you have my utmost respect
for it’s the future of my children you are there to protect.

Although you don’t know me and we’ve never met,
the gift that you’re giving is one I’ll never forget.

Although you don’t know me, my heart beats with hesitation,
when I hear you’re being deployed to an “undisclosed location.”

Although you don’t know me, I know the fears you must hide
for a soldier in uniform is bravery, exemplified.

Although you don’t know me, please know by this poem
that I’ll pray for you faithfully until your safe return home.

Although you don’t know me, you’ve made me one proud civilian,
but you need to know today that I’m only one in a million!

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that Character Counts!

Please return to the Blog Home Page www.whatwillmatter.com  and browse to see other current and archived commentaries, quotes and other good stuff.

______________________________

*I’ve selected a few videos that convey on a deeper level than words the range of emotions – pride, patriotism, fear, boredom, pain and grief – associated with military service. I hope you will take a few minutes to view them as your tribute to the men and women we owe so much. Watching them all will take less than 20 minutes.

Here are the lyrics to “If I die before you wake

Back home now I know you’re probably sleepin’
Over here it’s the middle of the day
I finally found the time to write a letter
Sittin’ here a half a world away
I heard about all them folks protestin’
As if I really want this war
But that don’t stop me from believin’
There’s just some things worth fightin’ for

CHORUS

And if I die before you wake, I pray the world will take
A good look at what God’s given us
That we could only understand, everything is in his hands
All we need is a little faith and trust
I want you to know it ain’t too high a price to pay
If I die before you wake
Tell everybody that I miss them
And I can’t wait to get back home
But until then I’ll serve my country
And be proud to wear this uniform

_____

Far Away  – Songwriters: Adair, Daniel; Kroeger, Michael; Kroeger, Chad; Peake, Ryan;

So far away
This time, this place
Misused, mistakes
Too long, too late
Who was I to make you wait?

Just one chance, just one breath
Just in case there’s just one left
Cause you know
You know, you know
That I love you, I have loved you all along
And I miss you, been far away for far too long
I keep dreaming you’ll be with me and you’ll never go
Stop breathing if I don’t see you anymore

One my knees, I’ll ask
Last chance for one last dance
Cause with you I’d withstand
All of it to hold your hand
I’d give it all, I’d give for us
Give anything but I won’t give up
Cause you know
You know, you know
That I love you, I have loved you all along
And I miss you, been far away for far too long
I keep dreaming you’ll be with me and you’ll never go
Stop breathing if I don’t see you anymore
So far away, been far away for far too long
So far away, been far away for far too long
But you know
You know, you know
I wanted you to stay

Cause I needed
I need to hear you say
I love you, I have loved you all along
And I forgive you for being away for far too long
So keep breathing ’cause I’m not leaving you anymore
Believe it, hold on to me, never let me go
Keep breathing ’cause I?m not leaving you anymore
Believe it, hold on to me, never let me go
Hold on to me, never let me go
Hold on to me, never let me go

_____

We Believe

A celebration of pride – all four military anthems – Gene Simmons

Taps

My Immortal
10,000 Miles Away

When I’m Gone – Three Doors Down

“When I’m Gone”
There’s another world inside of me
That you may never see
There’re secrets in this life
That I can’t hide

Somewhere in this darkness
There’s a light that I can’t find
Maybe it’s too far away…
Or maybe I’m just blind…
Or maybe I’m just blind…

[Chorus]

So hold me when I’m here
Right me when I’m wrong
Hold me when I’m scared
And love me when I’m gone

Everything I am
And everything in me
Wants to be the one
You wanted me to be

I’ll never let you down
Even if I could
I’d give up everything
If only for your good

So hold me when I’m here
Right me when I’m wrong
You can hold me when I’m scared
You won’t always be there
So love me when I’m gone
Love me when I’m gone…

When your education X-Ray
Cannot see under my skin
I won’t tell you a damn thing
That I could not tell my friends
Roaming through this darkness
I’m alive but I’m alone
Part of me is fighting this
But part of me is gone

[Chorus]

Love me when I’m gone…
Love me when I’m gone
When I’m Gone

Please follow and like us:

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *