What does it mean to enlist and serve, even go to war to fight for the freedoms that we all enjoy in the US? I’ve pondered this question since the 70’s when I saw friends go off to the Vietnam war. Needless to say, they returned different people because of their experience.
Decades later, I got to ask my son that question a couple of times. He did 2 tours and earned the rank of Sergeant in the Marine Corps in the Afghan war and spent time in Baghdad. What he experienced changed his life and I saw the anger, hurt, loss because some of the friends who were lost were kids I’d met.
I asked the question in the early years of my son’s enlisting and again a few years after he completed active duty and was working for a defense contractor in Japan. I always got the same answer … “Because I can.”
The first time I got that answer, I asked for an explanation. It was profound. He told me, rather emphatically that it was because of what I’d taught him … that he could be, do and have whatever he wanted in his life, so why not go for the best. He didn’t enjoy school as much as he enjoyed building relationships. He felt the Marine Corps was the best for him for several reasons:
- For establishing the relationships he would nurture and grow for his lifetime,
- For an enjoyable education, one where his kinesthetic style of learning would serve him and others that he would eventually lead,
- He felt it was the best option for a solid future and ironically, the details around his funeral and where he would be buried would be covered, and
- He felt it was the best place for him to become the man he wanted to be, his own man, to which I am very proud.
The second time I got a slightly different answer and he told me he remembered the first time I’d asked him that question. This time, still profound and a real confirmation of the wisdom and maturity he now displayed. His answer was again because he felt he had the option of making that choice, and that was because of what I’d taught him … to persevere, to stay strong and to know that there was a bigger purpose for our lives, his life, than we could know.
I believe that this is a prevailing belief of all soldiers, that there is a purpose for our lives beyond what we might ever know, and to all who served, in whatever capacity, I say ‘Thank You!’
Thank you for being, doing and having a desire for a better life and feeling that enlisting in the military would provide that. If you’ve found distress or disease during or after completing active duty, know that there are those of us who hold you in prayer and those who are here to help. There is help. Even if it’s hard, take the steps to reach out.
As my friend Les Brown told me years ago, and I was able to share it with my son, “If you trip and fall, if you get knocked down, roll over to look up. If you can look up, reach up, there’s always a hand to help you up.” That has served me and I’ve shared it with many over the years.
Thank you for persevering, for staying strong and knowing that you were serving a bigger purpose in your life and for the lives you’ve connected with, during and after your days of service.
Thank you for those of you who lost your lives. Your lives were not given in vain. For those who lost limbs and came home altered mentally or physically because of the experience, you are appreciated, loved and honored.
Thank you to the 4-legged companions and the families of all who served. You were in service too and we appreciate you.
Thanks to all those who served!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
V. Lynn Hawkins is a certified business acceleration coach, consultant and small business funding strategist, specializing in helping entrepreneurs with online marketing to grow business and revenue. As CEO/Founder of the P3 Academy of Social Entrepreneurship, she coaches her signature 5 Tiers of Accelerated Business Development, courses and programs her audience is asking for. Lynn teaches how to raise capital using crowdfunding and is host of the Crowdfunding Hacker Show now, The Positive Impact Makers Show. She is an author, speaker and an advocate for growing women entrepreneurs and their businesses and is often caught saying “when you earn more revenue, you can do more good in the world”. She believes in creating a living legacy through your work. Her “Goddesspreneur DIAMOND Mastermind” and “Women Empowering Women” live events help women express their vision, vibe, voice, and visibility to live victorious legacy lives, creating and growing legacy businesses.