Iron Wil on Veterans Day and Service

Chat about my appreciation for those who have served in the US Armed Services. Thanks for your service! Brotherhood and Sisterhood or dedication and service.

iron wil

You, Do You

I recently watched a superhero cartoon in which 2 characters with different approaches or styles teamed up. After probably 1/3 of the film with one of the characters trying to get the 2nd to do things in her way. Finally, he told her, “You do you and I’ll do me”. It worked much better when they both were themselves and did things their way.

It reminded me that each person has particular skills and abilities that they have come by naturally and developed or they developed with purpose. My brother Rob learned to juggle and became a decent juggler. Oh, he could have spent much more time on it and become extremely proficient, If I remember correctly, he wanted to just learn how to juggle 3 different objects. I was not interested in juggling, I was interested in earning money. I became good at doing the job outlined and performing to a high standard.

I love to work and am willing to put in as much time as the job requires. I have my limitations and skills that need improving. I know what I need to do … in some cases, I just need to “do” … to practice and then actually put the skills into practice. No matter what, I am always myself. I don’t pretend to be something I’m not. I sometimes get into trouble with my family or friends because of strong differing opinions.

Being an Army Brat, my community really consisted primarily of my family. The bases and neighbors changed all the time; the community grew stronger or weaker depending on the individuals and the relationships between them. Since my last move in 2009, I have been learning about community and the benefits and blessings that come from building relationships over time. My only reference has been family and a few best friends I have gained over the years since my father retired. I am learning to get involved and really be part of a community. I am learning to bring good to my community and help to build it up and make it better.

The beautiful thing about our world and the humans in it, is that when we become our best selves we bring the world up a level. We improve the world in our own small way. Look at the power that single individuals who have the vision and belief to work with an iron will to accomplish those goals. We could talk about Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and so many others that have brought good into our world.

How have you made a positive impact in your family, neighborhood, and community? How have you lived your life? Who have you helped?

Remember the story of the Starfish Thrower?

 

iron wil

The Soldiers Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, so dark and dreary,
I knew I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.

I heard stories about them, I had to see more
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping silent alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.

His face so gentle, his room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,
I soon understood this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.

Soon `round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of soldiers like this one lying here.

I couldn´t help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa don´t cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for freedom, I don´t ask for more,
my life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over and drifted off into sleep,
I couldn´t control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still,
I noticed he shivered from the cold night´s chill.

So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
And I covered this Soldier from his toes to his head.
And I put on his T-shirt of gray and black,
With an eagle and an Army patch embroidered on back.

And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
And for a shining moment, I was United States Army deep inside.
I didn´t want to leave him on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over, whispered with a voice so clean and pure,
“Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night!

Footnote: I wrote this poem for Christmas Eve 1993 while assigned to US Forces Korea – Lt Col Bruce W. Lovely, USAF (Printed in the Fort Leavenworth Lamp, 1995). With Apologies to Clement Moore Who First Wrote the Story for His Children in 1822 also credit given to M/Sgt Noah Brazos Ross, RA18033195, a US Army 18th Field Artillery survivor of Utah Beach, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Battle for the Ardennes, Deutschland wrote “Daddy’s Christmas” (Soldier’s Christmas)” as a Bonita, Montague County, Texas, high school exercise in 1937).

Walding, Pursuit … not Perfection

It is the pursuit, it’s not perfection; it is the pursuit of perfection is what makes a man great.” – John Wayne Walding

I have a few channels on YouTube that I follow and the NRA is one of them. No surprise there, I am sure. This spring they published the I Am Forever series following Reagan as she prepares to become a competition shooter. The series recently ended and in the final episode, John Wayne Walding, made this statement. It resonated with me! It hit home. The reason is because there is no such thing as perfection in this life. Granted, there are moments or times when something is done very well. Perfection is a goal that no mortal can ever reach. The pursuit is what refines and defines us; our character is forged in the pursuit of our goal. Whether it is to become a better golfer, basketball player, or teacher. To be a better Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, or Taoist; one must pursue perfection in their faith and that practice of their religion. At the least, we humans should be working to become the best human we can become. If you aren’t sure what that means, I can only tell you what it means to me.

His comment is at the 12:06 mark.

John Wayne Walding article at Army.mil

iron wil

Holmes, Greatly Pursued

Every calling is great, when greatly pursued.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

In our lives there is work. If you are religious and either Jewish or Christian then you might recognize Genesis 3:9 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread”. We learn, hopefully, from our youth that work is part of life. To make any gains in life we must work. Household chores were a common staple in the house I grew up in. My parents believed in a healthy dose of work and responsibility. I honestly can’t remember when my mother started us helping around the house. I know that I had chores. I had to take out the trash, clean my own room, wash dishes by hand, mow the lawn, rake the leaves, clean up after my siblings, wash windows, and even laundry. At age 12, I took up a paper route and worked hard for 2 months. I made really good money selling subscriptions. Then, my mother bade me quit. (Which is a longer story for another time.) After that, we moved to Germany and I worked summers in the Army’s student work program, babysat for (parents) friends and neighbors, and at 16 or 17 I started working for AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service). Think of it as a department store … I was a teller, who also worked in the stock room and doing other tasks.

In fact, I had learned to work. My dad had taught me that. I can remember one summer in Maryland when I was about 13. My dad asked me and my brother what we were doing on Saturday and we answered I don’t know (or nothing). He then responded that we were helping a guy in his unit move. I only remember that it was in Baltimore, MD. He lived on the third floor and we were carrying things down the stairs. I don’t remember much from that day. I do remember 2 lessons I learned.

  1. An honest days work for an honest days pay
  2. Integrity

So, this is what happened …

We worked. The soldier we were helping, had candy jars on the counter in his kitchen. He told us that we could have whatever we wanted. My parents taught us to always ask. At one point in the day, I grabbed a single Hershey Kiss and I ate it. Then I went back to work. Once the work was done, dinner was ordered and delivered . We sat on the carpeted floor eating dinner. We were tired and had worked hard. On the way home my father said that he was proud of us and that we had worked hard. Then he said, “an honest days work for an honest days pay”. I was sitting in the back seat. I knew then that taking that Hershey Kiss without asking was wrong. I could feel it in my soul and I knew it. My father didn’t learn of this experience until I was a man. It is a formative experience in my life.

Each of us can pursue the things that interest us, we have the freedom to choose our occupation. We can engage in work that brings us happiness. I have worked with and in the IT (computer) industry. I love computers and I love technology. It has made finding work and working enjoyable. Not every job has been perfect; yet, I enjoy the work I have engaged in.

When we pursue our calling (in life) we make it great! When we have integrity in our life and work we make a difference.

iron wil