I wake up every morning understanding I am in an enviable position. I have the honor of serving a group of students who are serving, or have served, in the military. These individuals possess something remarkable, and that is a belief in being a part of something greater than themselves.
People join the military for different reasons: familial tradition, education opportunities, travel, patriotism. No matter the reason, there comes a point where each one of them embraces the concept of service: service to country and service to each other.
This dedication to the whole, as opposed to the parts, is inspirational. The ability to work with each other to accomplish a goal, in spite of any differences that may arise, is remarkable. I have repeatedly seen these students, and students like them, work together to achieve an objective, and we are better for it.
I once asked my father, a Marine who served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, if he fought for something bigger than himself. He then told me this:
“One evening my niece, Janice, walked up to me, looked up at the sky, and asked, ‘Can I have that star?’ I wanted to fight for a country where a little girl has the freedom to ask for something and she can grow up and maybe one day get it.”
We all do things for different reasons. And we are fortunate that we live in a country where, for the most part, we are free to pursue our dreams. We should be thankful to those who dedicate themselves to something greater than themselves.
But I assure you we should be proud of them as well. Proud that our friends, family, and loved ones who have chosen this path, for whatever reason, have chosen it. And to them I say, not just today but every single day, thank you.