From Dennis Lowery
Our veterans and current service men and women know a side of life that someone who has not served may not grasp fully. It does not mean that one has lived or lives a life that is less or more than the other but rather that their scope of life and perspective is different contextually. We judge everything by experience and military service by its very nature brings with it unique experience (to say the least).
I recall vividly the day I entered boot camp, the day I reported to my ship and the day when lines were cast off for my first deployment, my first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, onboard the USS Montgomery (FF-1082) in 1979 headed to the Middle East. These were all “beginnings” for me–they were steps into new worlds and new experiences. Serving in the United States Navy, and those I served with, taught me more about myself than I could have ever possibly learned in any other way. It put me on the path to becoming who I am today, which is not how I might have turned out otherwise.
This Memorial Day please think of it as something more than a three-day weekend (for many people). Pause at some point during your possibly hectic plans for the weekend and honor the memory of those who have served and to appreciate those who continue to serve.
I wrote the following recently and realized that my first conscious thought of what I came to believe about much in life was when I made that first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean:
“A tiny thing is Mankind, on the scale of the Universe, but in some people their soul is the Universe.”
We are all small in the grand scheme of things but some have within us the power to make our reality much larger… much more complete and to our liking. We see not just who we are, but who we can become. We appreciate what we have yet still reach towards a goal or objective. Stretching ourselves.
Those of us who were not born perfect know that each day of our life is an opportunity to learn more, do more and be more. Even if it’s only a small step, a bit of progress or when your personal circle of enlightenment expands slightly to push back the shadows and darkness of the path ahead and that borders the sides of the road we travel in life.
The above thought comes to me as part of my own set of memories and reflections for this Memorial Day. So I leave this with my best wishes for you and the following poem (that many of us can relate to about life and service).
Invictus (by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.