Some things we can’t wait to get away from. Some things stick with us forever. As we close out Memorial Day I asked two very different individuals their takeaway on lifetime habits from their military careers. One is just beginning, fresh out of West Point. The other, a 20 year veteran of the US Navy.
What are they learning in order to serve? What have they learned because of their service?
The first, a recent graduate and brand new 2nd Lieutenant was asked the following question: “What 3 daily habits did you pick up at West Point that you believe will stick with you for the rest of his life?” This is the answer from that brand new graduate.
Actually, I didn’t get an answer. The response was that it’d take about two weeks before he can get back to me. He is a brand new graduate with a huge schedule of sorts ahead of him. Via his father, “He should have some free time to think about it the second week of June.” (Stay tuned as I’ll actually post his response if I get it.)
My hopes of a quick response are not a priority at this time. I get it.
In contrast, here’s what I asked a seasoned 20 year Navy man, Tony DuMosch: “What are 3 daily habits (apart for the obvious) you picked up while serving your country and have kept to this day?”
His answer was given to me while he took a quick rest from a motorcycle trip he was on. His answer was not what I expected. I expected him to tell me he always kept a straight gig line or he wakes up early no matter what’s going on that day. He went deeper than that and for good reason.
This is what Tony told me were daily habits he picked up while sailing the world for the U.S.
- After seeing much of the world… I am thankful to be an American citizen and each day I am reminded of how lucky we are.
- I treat others with respect regardless of race, culture, sex or beliefs.
- With less than 1% of American who serve [in the military] I attempt to keep those who serve before me remembered.
Tony is very active to this day, working as a volunteer with the American Legion. He lives to honor that third habit he has. He does not want others to forget those who’ve served before him, with him or after him.
To all of our servicemen in the military, thank you for giving. Thank you for serving.