The older I get the more I appreciate Veterans Day and what many have done to serve our country and keep us free. I really am grateful for the men and women who have given lives so that we can live as we do. Freedom is always worth fighting for, no matter what our Poly Sci professors said in college.
I had the opportunity to serve our country for six years in the United States Coast Guard. I know, many of you are asking: “Is the Coast Guard part of the military?” And the answer is a resounding YES! The members of the Coast Guard fall under the Military Code of Justice just as much as the Marines do. The difference is our purpose. The Marines serve to liberate the beach, the Coast Guard serves to help them navigate to the beach.
The point is that I had the opportunity to serve for six years in the Coast Guard. In retrospect, I don’t think I realized what a privilege I was given while there. I was too young and immature to truly appreciate the opportunity to serve. That is probably the case with most who serve. No one forces us to join, but once we do, we have a tendency to ‘bitch’ about things when life isn’t easy.
That is the wrong attitude. Remember, we joined voluntarily, and if it was easy, then everyone would do it. We join because it is not easy. We join because it is necessary. We join because it is the opportunity of a life time.
I wish that someone had come along side me and reminded me of those truths in the midst of serving. One of the worst aspects of serving is the number of men who serve that have absolutely terrible attitudes. They hate serving, they grumble about it and before long everyone is grumbling about it. I was one of those. I look back on my time there and wish that my attitude had been better. Anyone can stand around and bitch about things. (I know that is the second time I’ve used that word, and it is unacceptable in certain circles. But the word describes the sin perfectly. Bitching is a sin, and it’s ugly just like the word that describes it). What we need are those who don’t do that. We need those who know that serving in the military means facing adversity and dealing with it, all of it, from the grumpy captains and chiefs, to the daily grind of serving time in the scullery. Someone has to wash those pots and pans and it just so happens it’s not going to be the Chief Petty Officer.
To those who are serving now, I would say this: Remember that it is an honor to serve and a privilege. I’ve known men who wanted to serve when they were young and were denied because of physical disabilities. If you are serving then you are blessed. Serve to the best of your ability so that when you look back on your time in the service, you will have few regrets.
By the way, the same is true of the Christian life. We serve an even greater purpose when we serve Christ in our calling. Serve with the same mind of Christ, knowing that we are called to this, whether we are working in the scullery of life, or serving on the board of a charitable institution. Serve for His glory, with no regrets.