Pride is a funny thing. For example, I’m a veteran, and veterans
day is coming up. So I should be proud of myself, right? Well,
okay. I tip my hat and show my gratitude when I am thanked for my
service to the country, but as far as being “proud” is concerned, I
am a bit stingy about the definition of it.
Honestly, I hated the Navy. Almost every second of being in. There were those times when people told me something to the effect of “you should be proud of yourself for making such a sacrifice”, and that part of the brain with the stoic self-portrait of myself in those crisp Navy Blue cracker-jacks, fired off in all sorts of strange directions.
Sacrifice… Now there’s another funny word. What the hell do these words mean?
I associate the word sacrifice with the scene from King Kong, where the blond damsel is offered up to an oversized gorilla. Not exactly what my Naval experience should be likened to. I was well fed in the Navy, given plenty of time off, partied as though I faced the electric chair, and am lucky that I wasn’t arrested for some of the stupid things I’ve done.
What people are talking about when they say “proud service” is that they are grateful to you for placing yourself in harms way, and if you are Army or Marine corp, you are risking your life to a degree beyond the likes of what most men and women will ever know. That is the picture people have in thier heads when they thank a veteran for his or her service to the United States.
It is extraordinary behavior for human beings. Something, for at least a short period of time, is requiring you to exert yourself for the sake of others, and if you have any worth, you’ll be able to shut your enormous trap for at least a long enough period of time to get a job done. Where pride stands in all of this, is that place in ourselves where we hope that we are appreciated for our “sacrifices”.
Is it unjustified to consider life to be a test of our own strength and will? It is wonderful to have a day dedicated to our servicemen and women, but for me, it is day of mourning for those who never had the chance to look back upon their service as that monument to themselves; that they were strong enough to seek the glory of risk and determination.
If you really want to honor a service member, wake up and watch the sunrise. Go get a glass of that top shelf Cognac and sip on it while you listen to your favorite rock band. If you feel like going the extra mile, do something you always dreamed of doing. Write a book. Get in your garage and put that old Mustang together.
Pride isn’t tangible. It isn’t something you can put on a sandwich, buy a ticket to the movie theater with, or use to pay for your children’s college education. Ask yourself how thankful you are for having a choice as to whether or not to even get out of bed. When you get out of that bed, if you are truly thankful, you’ll be trying to achieve something great, and with those in mind who would have done things far greater.