When I was 7 I tied my little brother to a tree in our front yard, naked. Or maybe in a diaper. Whatever it was, I left him for more than an hour and it was enough to get me in big trouble.
Lt Col Jim Horn went on to not only survive, but thrive. He graduated from WestPoint just before 9-11, went to Ranger school and then deployed to Iraq in what was to be his first of a handful of deployments. How quickly your attitude changes from annoying little brother to American hero. Jim has witnessed the death of too many friends and escaped his own more than he will honestly say. And Jim is just one of many. There are more than 1 Million active duty today and more than 40 million have served since 1776. Veterans Day is a time to pause, remember, and show gratitude.
Last week Jim invited me to speak to the Leadership Institute at the University of Houston where he now commands the Army ROTC. The 50+ in the class will soon have to choose active or reserve duty. I spent most of my time on the standard content I’ve taught before but the last few minutes I paused to try and give civilian, and big sister context to the decision that lies before each of them.
I told the class that despite tumultuous and strenuous times in our nation, we are still America; the most-free nation on earth. Whether you choose active duty or reserves, we need you. We are a nation that can choose to stand or choose to kneel; choose to protest or choose a moment of silence; these choices, freedoms and liberties exist only because of those who serve. This country has learned to separate the war from the warrior.
We are not perfect, but we are free, only because of those who serve. The skills they perfect in the military today will be the ones that propel them in the private sector later – the basics transcend civilian/military distinction. Faith, character, honesty and trust are the keys to success no matter the path. This Veterans Day remember to pause and say thank you. Remember to reflect on the freedoms we are given and the opportunities we are afforded that do come at a cost. We are free because of the brave and we, as a nation, will always support and thank our veterans.
Join our team on December 2nd at the Texas Capitol as those who serve(d) in Iraq and Afghanistan are honored http://priceoflibertyevents.com/schedule.