Monday, February 14, 2011


In my wallet I carry my U.S. military retirement ID card; its my go-to piece of identification when required.  Occasionally people will look at it and give me a heartfelt, "Thank you for your service".  I've asked myself lately, what is service?  So many organizations, from schools, churches, the Boy Scouts, and even prisons are preaching service theses days, but I'm not sure what it is that they are preaching.

Must there be personal sacrifice in order for a deed to be considered service, and if so, does the greater the sacrifice lead to a greater degree of service?  Or is it the other way around, can a great good with no personal sacrifice be considered service? 

I've been reading much about service to God. Does he require a sacrifice from us?  What if I tithed $25/week to a church, or spent a lifetime on my back painting the ceiling Sistine Chapel, which is the greater service to God?  I do not know?

I spent twenty years, two months, two weeks, and a day in a uniform, the vast majoring it that time as a Green Beret.  I sacrificed horrendously, but at the same time I gained much in return.  Was this service and to whom?

Tacked up on my old team room wall...

"Men sleep peaceably
in their beds at night
only because rough men stand
ready to do violence on
their behalf".

- George Orwell

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

1. Post it when you figure it out.
2. Served for many years, wartime and peacetime.
3. Got dragged in against my will.
4. Went back to it, when my efforts to be a civilian failed.
5. Started, trying to keep myself alive.
6. Finished, trying to keep my men (and myself) alive.
7. If I ever had a thought beyond immediate concerns, I don't recall it.
8. Always feel vaguely guilty when someone thanks me for my service.
9. The service that resulted from my various behaviors was mostly the system making good use of me.
10. Think you have made more of yourself. Admire that.
V/R JWest