There is a military base I frequent often in California’s gorgeous central coast area where you can drive for miles after entering its main gate without seeing another soul. The scenery is always nice and the mood peaceful, yet every few hundred yards or so, a roadside sign with just one or two words will appear that demands attention.
Loyalty. Duty. Respect. Selfless Service. Honor. Integrity. Personal Courage.
These are the core values of the U.S. Army and what every Soldier learns in basic training and embeds in to their being. Of course the other service branches have their own variations; Honor, Courage, Commitment (Navy); Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence in All We Do (Air Force); Honor Courage, Commitment (Marine Corps).
I am not a member of the military, but I have had the privilege of working with many across all branches these past 15 or so years as part of my job as a government contractor. Every person I’ve dealt with and almost without exception, has exemplified those core values along with being highly intelligent, motivated and polite, always so darned polite and a pleasure to do business with.
I am extremely proud and grateful that these are the men and women that represent America around the world and play a role in keeping us and our country safe from harm.
Many, too many really, have died in that role and we must always remember them and the sacrifices they and their loved ones made in our defense and for the ability we have to live and breath in freedom today.
Saying a mere thank you seems like an insult, but it’s all I have and it’s all a service member would accept anyway. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all who have served, especially those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and to those who unfortunately will in the future.