I have seen all week on many of the social media sites that I frequent, that it (Memorial Day) is “not about the BBQ.” And that is certainly true. Today is so much more than an excuse to frolic in the pool and eat as much red meat as possible.
It is easy to get caught up in the activities around Memorial Day and to forget exactly why the holiday was created: to honor those American men and women who died during combat. To put it as succinctly as I can, Memorial Day is for the American troops who didn’t get to come back home and drink a cold Coca-Cola at a homecoming party or march in a parade in their little hometown.
There are many out there like me that never wore the uniform of our Nation and never served on the battlefield. And I, like many, do not know with specificity the experiences and feelings that you have had. So, I will simply say “Thank you!” from one member of this grateful nation.
But, remember these as well
But, we would do well to remember some other fine examples of leadership. Two are no longer with us. And one is still alive today. We would do well to reflect on and remember some historic leaders outside of the U.S. Military that have made an impact on this world and on the cause of freedom, liberty, and prosperity. Consider just a few today.
Margaret Thatcher — She was was Britain’s first female prime minister. She was known for her tough uncompromising, conservative political views, and became nicknamed “The Iron Lady” as a term of both reverence and derision. She, along with Ronald Reagan, forged a relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev that brought the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion.
Consider these words from Margaret Thatcher. — “To me, consensus seems to be: the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that need to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner ‘I stand for consensus’?”
Adam Smith — He was a Scottish social philosopher in the 1700’s. He his best known for his work “The Wealth of Nations” which posited a framework for the basis of much of what we understand free market economics to be today. Although he was considered to be a champion of Capitalism and of laissez-faire economics, he was also aware of the limitations of unbridled capitalism. He expressed this concern in a subsequent work entitled, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”. In this work, Smith emphasized the importance of sympathy for other people as a key element of human morality.
Consider these words from Adam Smith. — “Never complain of that of which it is at all times in your power to rid yourself.”
Lech Walesa — My fear is that there are many who do not even know who Lech Walesa is. He is 73 years old and is still living in his beloved Poland. However, more than 30 years ago, he was a leader of the burgeoning Polish Solidarity Movement which sought to end Communist rule. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Walesa was elected as Poland’s first President of the Republic of Poland. For those who did not come of age during the “Cold War” while the “Iron Curtain” separated the old USSR from the rest of the West, you need to read a little about a man named Lech Walesa.
Consider these words from Lech Walesa. — “It is hardly possible to build anything if frustration, bitterness and a mood of helplessness prevail.”
Is there more that I can do?
Yes! You can remember these as well. These are but a few leaders that come to mind when I think outside of the military box and look for leadership inspiration from those that have gone on before us. Some of which have long been gone. You would do well to remember men and women like these three historical figures and learn from their lives and the legacy that their leadership and influence have left us.