This Memorial Day in the USA I’m pondering the American ideal, the vision that so many brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for. We are I believe, under this ideal, meant to build each other up. To look to these service men and women’s love of their fellow citizens as an example of how to treat each other.
We demonstrate the greatest honor for those most worthy of our respect when we have the option to tear each other down and instead choose to reject this practice. It has become a prevalent cultural norm in a lot of organizations today to see who can step on whom, who can catch someone doing something wrong, and who can build themselves up on the backs of another. Yet if our service men and women had made this kind of choice to turn their backs on the rest of us, we’d hardly consider them worthy of being honored.
Bravery isn’t driving the fastest car, having the most cushy position at a company, or being rich and famous. Bravery is standing up for what is right, an incredibly tough task in a world that keeps insisting that we sell each other out for our own short-term comforts. We have been gifted in this country a great opportunity of freedom, and with that opportunity comes an enormous responsibility to honor each other’s unique gifts. Next time you have the chance to build yourself up at someone else’s expense, take the opportunity instead to look to our service men and women’s example. And honor their choice to build up the rest of us at their own expense by emulating this choice.