Service Makes a Difference

Veteans Day 2013 - Pine Grove Cemetery

I ripped out on the bike early yesterday for a gorgeously cool and clear blue sky late fall ride through Ashland, Holliston and Hopkinton intent on getting to Pine Grove Cemetery in Westborough at 9:30 for our town’s annual Veterans Day event. Just like every time I’m on the bike, while my legs spin, eyes watch the road and ears listen for cars around me, my mind takes off to wherever it wants to go.

Yesterday morning, as I usually do on Veterans Day, I thought about friends who died serving – all of them from training, none from combat. I remember them mostly for their smile or laugh – great guys, all of them – and those memories keep them alive in my mind.

Then I thought about what joining the navy meant for me. I never was a scholar, but the recruiters told me I’d written my way to becoming an Intelligence Officer. At the time, that was the most significant shot of confidence in my life. And that confidence only grew stronger the more I did in the navy with those around me.  I loved it – and still do – and, over time, learned that more than anything that confidence is linked to serving something that’s a lot bigger than me – all of it in the here and now.

Here and now is all we have, and the challenges we face are fantastic. I’m glad for the confidence I gained serving with the terrific people I got to know in all our armed forces. I’m even more glad keeping that spirit of service fresh, alive and in the present with the terrific people I’ve gotten to know in our town and now across our state.

I know from experience service makes a difference and is something we all can do. It’s all about participating in and contributing to life.

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