As we celebrate Memorial Day, let us honor those military men and women who gave their lives fighting for our country. Those who paid the ultimate sacrifice may have taken very different paths along the way, and yet all are heroes.
Some knew from a very young age that they wanted to serve their country by serving in the military. I remember some childhood friends who played war games with their green army men or GI Joe toys, defending their positions and strategizing attacks on the enemy. In high school or college, they joined ROTC to learn more about military service and to further develop their leadership skills. They eagerly enlisted in their preferred branch of the military as soon as possible, knowing that this was their career of choice.
Others were initially reluctant, being selected in the draft and having to adapt to the idea of military service. They may have been fearful, knowing that their lives and the lives of those around them depended upon being well-prepared for the unknown dangers ahead of them. Even though it may not have been what they had planned for their career, once they were inducted into service they were united by a common cause – to defeat the enemy and protect our way of life.
Still others were triggered by a specific event such as the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 or the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Their outrage at an attack on U.S. soil motivated them to make sure such an attack would not happen again.
Others chose to serve for other reasons: as a way to afford a college education, to become more disciplined or learn life skills, or even to escape a challenging home environment.
No matter their reason or path to service, they all pulled together in support of a common cause and paid the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. And for that, we should all be very grateful.
As the leader of your company, do you know why your employees have chosen to work for you? Do you have a clearly defined common cause that will motivate them to pull together for the greater good? Most importantly, do you tell them regularly that you are grateful for their service?
If not, then Memorial Day seems like a perfect time to start!