(Originally posted on 11.11.12. It has been updated, slightly)
This post has absolutely nothing to do with sports.
On today, November 11, people all across the country will celebrate the great men and women of our Armed Forces. They will be honored with parades, free meals, handshakes, standing ovations and endless thank yous. They are worthy of each and every act of gratitude that is bestowed upon them on that day. The members of our armed forces are known for their strength, determination, resilience, heart, work ethic, faith, courage, dependability, endurance, integrity, loyalty, the list goes on. I admire them for all these things but what impresses me the most is their humility.
All of my life I have been surrounded by men and women who were in the military. My grandfather was a Marine who served in World War II. He also served as a Post Commander in our hometown at one of the American Legion posts. My grandfather was a very humble man. Over the years, I had numerous conversations with my grandfather about his time in the Pacific and I can not recall him ever initiating those conversations. He was not one to brag. He would just simply say, “I was serving my country.” For all the times we talked, I had no idea I was talking to a man who made history. Not long before my grandfather passed, my mother found out that when he entered into the Marines he was among the first wave of African-American men to ever be admitted into the Corps. Come again? My grandfather? My daddy? The man who I call “The Epitome of a Man” was living history? Imagine our surprise. We knew he was stationed at Camp LeJeune but we had no idea about Montford Point which is where the African-American Marines were trained. The more my mother researched the story, the more we grew to understand just how huge this discovery was. When asked about the recent information that was discovered about him, my grandfather simply replied, “Yes, I was at Montford Point.” That was it. No tooting his horn. No sticking out his chest. No bragging about what he had done.
My grandfather’s response to what he accomplished is what I have always encountered with our soldiers. No boasting. No reminding you of what they did. No expectations of handouts. I am always humbled when I meet soldiers and I tell them thank you. A lot of times, I am given a “thank you for your support” as a response. I typically have that “you do not need to thank me” look on my face. It is not necessary but I get it. They fight for us. They serve for us. Many have given their lives for us. They do it selflessly. They do it knowing the risks. They do it because they love their country. Often times, I feel like our military heroes are forgotten. We see praise all over the place for reality stars, athletes(I managed to tie sports in), musicians, YouTube sensations, etc. Being a soldier is not just about November 11. It is about a commitment they made to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” As humble as our soldiers are, I know that acknowledging them solidifies that what they have sacrificed was worth it. So do me a favor, the next time you encounter a veteran or a current member of our armed forces, tell them THANK YOU. Then allow yourself to experience the feeling that truly makes them who they are…humility.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, I would like to publicly acknowledge some very special men and women who have served and are currently serving in our armed forces…my grandfather, the late LM Lockhart, the late Mr. Dewey Hill, Owen Mitchell, Brandon “Peanut” Parker, Danyell Horton, Tommy Parker, Johnny McKeithan, Adam Horne, Carlos Spruill, Leonard “Boogie” Williams, Cedric Payne, James Roberts, Jr., Lena Godfrey, Keith Hargrave, Tim Jones, Bernard Carter, Sheri McDowell, Jimmel Anderson, Quenya Borders Glenn, Tom Wiegand, Danielle Moses, Leon Marsh, Tracy Marsh, Marlaina Beaty and the late Josh Harris(I did not know Josh but he was a Navy SEAL Team Six member from my hometown who sacrificed his life during a combat mission in 2008). THANK YOU all for your sacrifice and service!! You allow me to proudly say, land of the free because of the BRAVE!