Had to see if I still had it at 43 years old. Commentary by Dan Mahoney.
Last night I did a show at a cabin in the woods for 14 Purple Heart recipients who were on a weekend hunting retreat. I feel like I’ve done pretty much every kind of show, but this was my very first just standing in a living room next to a warm fireplace while a group of burly dudes in camo spread out rounds of ammo as they sat at a kitchen table or living room chairs.
As a performer I’d say the “conditions” were not the best. Ha. As a person I was truly inspired by my audience. They could not have been cooler to some guy (me) who showed up, stood up and started talking. Trust me they’d much rather had a stripper and I completely agreed she’d have been a more welcomed performance. But good luck getting a woman to drive over an hour into a mountain to meet a bunch of dudes in a cabin… even I was getting a Deliverance vibe by the tail end of my travels.
I’ve noticed over the years that the performances that mean the most to me are the ones that have me really thinking on my way home. The ones that stay with me, make me ponder, and possibly help me grow somehow. Last night I witnessed a group of men bust their asses to take care of a group of men who’d risk their asses with consequence. The hosts were determined to make sure these guys were having a great time. The guys themselves all smiled, laughed, gave each other and myself sh*t while being polite, fun and thankful. That doesn’t happen everyday.
I say this often: The world I see presented in front of me on/in the news or social media is not the one I experience. It’s a pity that anger and harsh opinions are more likely to infect our society’s information cycle than to create inspiration and thoughtfulness. Because my drive home last night was filled with the latter and it’s one I won’t forget for all the right reasons.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Being a Veteran for me is a constant knowledge that out there right at this moment service members are in harm’s way, living in discomfort, far from home and those they love. Individuals who’ve made an oath and sacrifices and shoulder/execute the unimaginable. It’s seeing my own young eyes wearing a uniform. Taking to heart the ideals of this country and loyalty of friends who’ve come together from all walks of life. Being aware that innocence shatters, pain builds and help may be needed. With age you realize the value of life because you’ve lived one. Early on mine was shaped in a uniform, driven by an oath and forged by lifelong friendships. It’s been a pretty solid run. Thank you those who came before me, served with me and will follow after me. You are in my blood, my heart, and my mind. I’m a United States Military Veteran.
I try to be mindful, thankful & honor the courageous men and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country they love daily. I cannot expect anyone who has not experienced service to our country to fully understand it. Why at 42 years of age I still wear a Navy t-shirt to the gym, pack a bag to travel across the world in an attempt to make my present day brothers and sisters smile, light up like a child on Christmas morning when I meet or see one back home safe. The willingness to put your life before each and every other fellow country member is a misunderstood act at times. Tarnished by many of the very freedoms a Soldier, Sailor, Air Men/Woman and Marine hold in great value. Standing side by side in a small room in all corners of our beautiful country solemnly swearing to support an oath is about putting others ahead of you. Individuals standing to your left or right, who taught you back home, who wrote your favorite book, who held your legs for a keg stand or beat your home team… it’s about you reading this. Some of those who made that oath did not make it back. Today we are mindful, thankful & honor them. PJ