I’m not soliciting “Thank You’s”. This message stems from me thinking about the upcoming weekend and "veterans" in general. I mean by definition, a veteran is someone who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field. If we use that explanation you are a veteran…a veteran of a craft, an expertise, or the life you lead. One of my favorite quotes is by Teddy Roosevelt. Here it is:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
See, you are a veteran, because you get up and you get into your arena and you get marred and sometimes come short in things. You don’t stop, you don’t slow, you don’t quit…you get right back up the next day and enter the challenge ever convinced you’ll do more or better today than you did yesterday. You run, jump, swim, paddle, whatever in order to get to your goal. That is the energy and passion that puts you in a place that not many others will venture into because they fear failure. You are battling like a soldier on a mission. If you are not doing that or being what Teddy describes, well then, that is the ultimate failure.
So you veterans of skill, take a minute during the long weekend to update your status, tweet, make a video, write a letter, buy a beer, and/or shake the hand of a Armed Forces member and then continue toward your triumph of high achievement.
Have a Happy Memorial Day weekend,
SGT Benjamin Ortega