Have You Made a Difference?
When I first came off of active duty with the Marine Corps back in the ‘70’s, I went into law enforcement for a few years before I finally got my dream job as a 3rd generation Boise City Firefighter (and EMT).
My daughter Christy, although she was still very young at the time, had a sharp, inquisitive mind and always asked a lot of tough questions. I remember one day when she got to come visit me at the fire station. She was standing next to me holding my hand, and she looked up and asked “Daddy, why do you always do the dangerous jobs?”
I had never thought about it that way, so that one really set me back on my heels – and actually choked me up a bit. I paused for a moment and then got down on one knee so I could look her in the eyes, and put my hands on her tiny little shoulders. When I answered I said “baby, I don’t always do the dangerous jobs…I just do the jobs where I can help people – they just happen to be dangerous.” I could see her little brain kick into overdrive as she took that in.
This is why my writing is about the military, field intelligence operators, veterans, law enforcement (even though the current populist fad is to knock the police), firefighters, emergency medical personnel (in the field/on the street, or in the emergency rooms), nurses and doctors…and all others that put their lives and safety on the line to help or protect others.
One of my favorite quotes has always been from Ronald Reagan, when he said "Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem." Even though I happen to be a Marine, I still include all these other public servants (in the true sense of the words “public” and “servants”) as those who don’t have to wonder if they’ve made a difference in this world. They truly save the world for each one of the people they help.
There is a price to be paid for that service. Whether military, first responder, caregiver or other, each person is affected by the tragedies they witness, the loss and violence, the inhumanity they deal with, and the suffering they endure. These effects extract a toll on each of them – and through them, on their families. As the saying goes, “Freedom isn’t free”, regardless of what some of those in the counter-culture may think (or not think).
Regardless, these courageous men and women continue to step forward, some paying with their physical lives to safeguard your future, while some pay with their own well-being (physically, mentally and spiritually), as do their families. Why do they do it? Ask them… I will continue to try to tell their stories.
I ended my previous post with this quote, but it bears repeating here. If you ever wonder if you’ve made a difference, consider this.
"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal." Albert Pine
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