This Veteran’s Day, 2022, I am reminded of Theodore Roosevelt’s words from a 1910 speech that became known as “The Man in the Arena”:
“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.”
Serving, putting others before yourself, is something that gives you a different perspective on life in ways that you might not see if you do not serve.
Upon enlisting in the United States Navy, I had no idea where serving would take me or what lay ahead, but I was good with wherever service took me. So, I joined the service, the Navy.
And 25+ years rolled past in the blink of an eye.
The thought upon leaving service was a realization that I was leaving my adopted family (U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and the lifestyle that had become part of me in those years. Though a bit sad, depressed, and afraid of the new unknown, I needed to start writing that next chapter in life.
It wasn’t until I had been writing that chapter for a little while that I really understood to how much appreciation and pride my family truly felt in what I (and all veterans) had been fortunate enough to have taken part. I hope that same pride still resonates in the American people today for all of our veterans out there, past, present and future.
How ever it may be flawed, we are very fortunate to have this constitutional republic that we call home, and to have those who selflessly serve to protect our way of life in and for the U.S.A.
So, to all who served, thank you for being that man in the arena, for daring greatly for our country.