If You’re Really Lucky…
By Jim Kuiken
You get to meet someone. Special.
I’m going to take you on what looks like a trip down memory lane, a composite of previous articles and posts…but what actually isn’t. It’s a reiteration of the basic truth of what makes our country, its people, and especially those very few – Great (and no, that’s not a political reference, don’t get all riled up – it just happens to be the appropriate word).
I’m going to talk about Heroes (again). Because we should. Often.
Last week I went down to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico VA, to attend a talk and book signing by one young man who I’ve spoken of before. Medal of Honor recipient, retired Marine Corporal Kyle Carpenter.
I’ve had the honor of knowing more than a couple Medal of Honor recipients, so while I was there at the Marine Corps Museum, I walked down the hall that contains exhibits of the major wars that the Marine Corps has been involved in, to the Medal of Honor display.
Of course, these are just the Marines who have received the Medal (I know some Army guys who’ve received them as well – but this IS the Marine Corps museum…) I was just looking to see if I could find the ones I knew on the wall. I’m privileged to call these men friends (and now one new acquaintance)…and all but one are still living. And there they were.
Lots of folks think (big H) Heroes are tough guys/gals. Bad@$$es. In some cases they are. But lots of those who make sure you know how big and bad they are…aren’t.
Actually, real Heroes are that way because of something totally different than you may think. I posted a picture a couple of years ago of a young soldier that gave her life in defense of her fellow soldiers, trying to save them. She (like most of them) was so very young…and so very selfless.
I wrote a comment about her, which others then picked up and quoted. “Courage knows no gender. Courage knows no race. Courage comes from within, from a deeply ingrained sense of duty, from service to something bigger than just yourself…from love.”
It’s not bravado. For most real Heroes, it’s because they care. They feel a sense of duty, of service. Trust me, there are some serious Heroes out there who go unnoticed.
A couple of years ago, I dedicated the following song to my youngest sister, because it (in my mind) describes her.
It also fits Kyle. Someone I can respect – selfless, humble and kind. Exactly what I expected, for a Hero like him. If you’re really lucky, you meet one every now and then.