The world is changed by your deeds, not by your opinion.
– Paul Coelho
I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser today to benefit aging veterans as part of an organization called “Honor Flight.” Honor Flight’s funds allow the organization to take veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the mall and the memorials that are located there. Honor Flight’s original goal was to take WW II vets to DC. Eventually, this wonderful group of volunteers plan to take Korean War vets and, later, Vietnam vets. It is a fine organization with a noble goal for the even more noble recipients of their service.
At the event today, we most appropriately acknowledged the sacrifice made by our vets, both those who came back from war, as well as those who made the “ultimate sacrifice.” The appreciation expressed was most appropriate.
But let’s examine the word “sacrifice” a little further. When and where else do we utilize the term? Well, we say that parents sacrifice for their children. We save money to send them to college, foregoing a nicer house, vacations, and other comforts for their sake. We see to it that our offspring are wearing new shoes while we get by for another year with the old ones. And so on. We all can readily think of other examples where the term “sacrifice” is relevant, with our children or for other worthy causes.
Webster uses the word “loss” as the defining characteristic of sacrifice. With all due deference to Mr. Webster, I respectfully disagree. When I consider what we did for the benefit of our children, I don’t experience a sense of loss. I feel good about those so-called sacrifices. I feel the opposite of loss; I feel gain. If we hadn’t made those sacrifices, my wife and I would have felt bad about ourselves. And I also know that my reaction is typical of how most parents see such decisions. Those personal denials of extras were freely and easily given by most of us.
I have the utmost respect for those aging men and women that I visited with today at the Honor Flight benefit. They are fine people. But I also could see how proud they are of their service. I believe that their military service is a source of great gratification in their lives. And it should be.
When we act in accordance with our value system, we don’t experience loss. In fact, it is just the opposite. We feel, like those fine vets today, a sense of pride and accomplishment. They proudly stood for something years ago. And in the confusing culture of today, that pun was most assuredly intended.
So do yourself a favor. Make the sacrifice of time, or money, or some other form of contribution that aligns with your values. You’ll feel good about it.
Sorry, Mr. Webster. No loss here.
Life has no remote; get up and change it yourself!