The contributions and ultimate sacrifice of heroes are being diluted by politicians, news anchors, and individuals in echo chambers. I can tell you from my own experience, traveling with coffins draped with flags and participating in removal ceremonies, that I know in my bones how much of my life, happiness, and freedom I owe to every heroic service member and their families. It is a constant part of my mindset. It also represents the tiniest fraction of discomfort when compared to the sacrifices of our fallen and their families. Get over yourselves left, right, and center. Feeling like you are right does not give anyone permission to act wrong. This behavior is wrong. Loss requires comfort, listening, and support – at the very least. Those three things are also exactly what is missing from the present political, journalistic, and social media atmospheres. Someone I respect a great deal said these words to me years ago and I feel they are a relevant reminder to our current society… “Get your sh*t together.”
I had the pleasure to entertain this strong woman at the Chaz & AJ Veterans Gala over the weekend. Her story is her own but echoes others. This is what courage looks like. It’s not on display, often written about or portrayed accurately. It’s living with traumatic events daily and dealing with them during the quiet moments of life. Having the strength to fight through, talk & share. I watched a room full of over 500 people come together in a small pocket of our land to help, support & show their appreciation to a Military Veteran, mother & fellow community member. That’s the world I like, want & will do my best to continue living in. Because it inspires me. If you want to make a difference in the world, start with your own. It’s something I’ve witnessed time and time again. U.S. Army Specialist Ryan Dostie is a shining example. Her family, friends, community & fellow veterans are the better because of the very hard steps she’s taken. Thank you Ryan!