Editor’s Note: This article was originally written on March 29th, 2008. I am inspired to re-publish it after reading an inspirational article on Financial Samurai to honor our heroes.
Last week, a friend of mine, Susan Rogers, sent me a video clip that, upon watching brought tears from my eyes. I, for once, realized how to view life in its noble perspective. In the midst of thoughts surrounding goals that are the self full filling, I had lost my focus to ponder on those who allowed me to have life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Those tears were for neglecting to care for giants among us, for those who sacrificed all they had for others, for those who fought for the old glory, for those with their silent act of patriotism and deep sense of service for the country, for those souls of inspirations that allowed me to have the life that I love, dreams that I dream and freedom that I cherish.
Those giants were at the front line to defeat Nazis to liberate Europe and Asia from the dark clouds of tyranny. America had its 400,000 brave souls sacrificed their lives in the most historic moments in our life time. Those who survived lived in anonymity, never bragged about their larger than life feats. They quietly blended with other Americans, raised their family. They lived with utmost dignity and with love for their country, and what it stands for: Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
But we are at the brink of loosing them all. 1500 WWII veterans are dying daily and before we know, they will go with an astonishing act of sacrifice and selfless endeavor in the history of humanity. Before it’s too late, I for once from my heart wanted to salute these giants and say -
“Thank you for all that you have done for all of us, We can never repay this debt of noble, selfless service that we have received from you.”
We idolize movie stars when we fall in love with their movies, We spend hours talking about Monday night football, We adore and get influenced by politicians selling dreams and hopes to win our votes. When will we take time to show our compassion, our deep gratitude, our true respect to those without whom all actors, sportsmen and politicians had slim chance to pursue their self centered lives.
I guess in one sense you can say we are an endangered species. But unlike the spotted owl or the whooping crane, there is no legislation that can be enacted to save us. We are rapidly disappearing off the radar screen, and soon all that will be left is what we have written, what we have recorded, and some old, fading photographs. Our voices will be forever silent, and the untold “first-hand accounts” of our experiences will remain untold.
We are the boys of World War II. We are dying off at the rate of 1,500 a day — that’s 45,000 a month. That number will steadily increase until the unyielding laws of mathematics give us an increasing rate of deaths, but a decreasing number of deaths — the remaining pool will have become too small.
But in our lifetimes, we made a difference. We had the good fortune to live during a time when honor, patriotism, and character were important. We stepped up to defend freedom, and put our lives on the line for the “cause.” It was a moment in history that may never occur again. – Quentin Aanenson
Before You Go
The elderly parking lot attendant wasn’t in a good mood!
Neither was Sam Bierstock. It was around 1 a.m., and Bierstock, a Delray Beach, Fla. , eye doctor, business consultant, corporate speaker and musician, was bone tired after appearing at an event.
He pulled up in his car, and the parking attendant began to speak. “I took two bullets for this country and look what I’m doing,” he said bitterly.
At first, Bierstock didn’t know what to say to the World War II veteran. But he rolled down his window and told the man, “Really, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you.”
Then the old soldier began to cry.
“That really got to me,” Bierstock says.
Cut to today.
Bierstock, 58, and John Melnick, 54, of Pompano Beach – a member of Bierstock’s band, Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Band – have written a song inspired by that old soldier in the airport parking lot. The mournful “Before You Go” does more than salute t hose who fought in WWII. It encourages people to go out of their way to thank the aging warriors before they die.
When 56 brave men signed declaration of independence, a nation was born. A nation that, with its open arm, offered lasting hope for the mankind. These 56 brave men also sacrificed all they had – their wealth, family and dreams. Our men in uniform have shown similar act of sacrifice over and over again.
Have we forgotten ? Yes, we have. We’ve forgotten that giants are not the one on silver screen, not the one who make pompous speeches at the podium. They are the ones who silently served the cause of the peace, cause of humanity. They are in oblivion.
So, today, When you get angry if your meal did not arrive on time or when you curse someone on your way to the ball game for driving slow – take a moment to introspect and seek gratitude to have freedom to choose what you eat, freedom to have fun at the ball park. You’ll realize how small we’ve become inside as we’ve grown outside in the pursuit of egoist, momentary pleasures.
Let’s collectively pay our heart felt tribute to these unsung, noble souls before they go. We owe them gratitude for our liberty and our way of life.
The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation. – George Washington
photo by: CRishel