Memorial Day is a national day of remembrance in which we honor those that have given that highest sacrifice that we may live in the land of the free. It is certainly worthy, deserving and just that we honor these brave heroes. While this is a day to honor specifically those that have died while serving, I believe it is also right and proper to honor those serving today, or that ever have, for they too put their lives on the line for us. After sharing these facts with the leadership students in my school the other day, I followed with a lesson we can all take from what Memorial Day teaches, and I would like to share it with all of you here today.
For the purposes of this meditation, it will be important to identify the specific principle that we are honoring when we honor the brave service men and women who have paid the ultimate price in the execution of their duty. I don’t believe that it is their death we honor. Do you? I don’t believe that it is even the fact that they are brave, able and willing to fight and die, though this is admirable. Yet there are other far less valiant people and professions that also require bravery and the willingness to stare death in the face; soldiers of fortune, throughout history and even today, live similar lives but serve simply the highest bidder, rather or not the ends of that benefactor are noble, worthy or even ethical. Certainly these do not warrant the same homage that we bestow upon the fallen soldier who dies while serving our country?
What is it then that causes us to take pause? What is the attribute that we admire and that we honor every Memorial Day? I believe it is that they have given themselves to selfless service to the rest of us; they have discovered, dedicated and even gave their lives to that which they were called to do, and specifically so that the rest of us may prosper.
But not everyone is called to be a warrior, just as not all are called to be teachers, doctors, firemen, police, fathers, mothers, entrepreneurs or any other thing. But some are called to each of these. I believe that the best way we honor the great men and women that gave their lives in defense of freedom is to exercise that freedom in our own selfless service to others. Each of us owes it to all of us to discover what calling God put in them, and to throw themselves into that calling with the same diligence and dedication to duty that the American fighting soldier, sailor, airman and marine puts into theirs! Each of us needs all of us, and all of us needs each of us; specifically to do what we are called to do!
When we fail to discover, train up and then share our calling to make our communities, society and country a better place for all of us, I believe we let these heroes down. As proud as I am of my own military service, I am equally proud of the work we do empowering lives through martial art and improving individuals, families and society one blackbelt at a time! But that is my calling and contribution in remembrance of the people that died to give me that right. What’s yours?
Shihan Stephen J. Del Castillo is the Founder and Master Instructor of Krav Maga Martial Arts in Tampa, Florida. He is a 7th Degree Blackbelt and BBSI Master Instructor, an MBA and a prior service Army Captain. His mission is empowering lives through martial arts, with the vision of improving individuals, families and societies one blackbelt at a time. Shihan especially enjoys sowing into young lives as he believes it is his calling to “raise up tomorrow’s leaders today”. Shihan Steve also teaches leadership to business and other organizations and is an active blogger and vlogger on subjects related to improving one’s leadership and life. Go to www.tampakravmaga.com for more info on Shihan and KMMA programs and/or join his leadership mastery community at https://www.facebook.com/meditationsonmastery/.