09 Nov “To Serve…With Love”
“To Serve…With Love” – Classic film buffs, and people of “a certain age” fondly remember a touching Sidney Poitier movie from the 1960s – “To Sir, With Love” – which also featured a memorable title track performed by pop star Lulu. For those unfamiliar with this cinematic gem, it’s a story about a person who had a distinct career path in mind, which got derailed fairly promptly in the first act of the movie. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a story if he HAD gotten what he initially planned!
Among the plots points, you have the inevitable challenges and character conflicts…all of which are to be expected in a first-rate film. However, aside from allowing us to briefly indulge in our cinematic passion, this IS actually going somewhere quite relevant! When the aforementioned song first made its debut on the radio (yes, boys and girls, that’s how we used to learn about new tunes), many people mistakenly thought the song was actually “To SERVE With Love.”
And that got us thinking about both the movie itself, AND the whole idea of service – which actually share some common ground!
Both the Poitier character, and those who serve, usually had a well-defined vision for their life. In both circumstances, they predominately find themselves either placed in an “underdog” situation or having to face some type of “battle.” And, each gains their knowledge and skills through a series of “trials by fire.” Yet, both Poitier’s initially-reluctant teacher and those who take up the mantle of service, share a passion for this calling, for a code of conduct, for respect, for honor.
And in another intersection of commonality, Poitier’s character receives REPEATED – and quite detailed – warnings about the very real danger this assignment would involve. Still he steps up. Just as those who have earned literally “earned their stripes” have done for millennia. Take just a moment to TRULY think about that concept…someone who is wholly aware of the possible dangers ahead and still CHOOSES to proceed anyway. WOW!!!
THOSE are the individuals we honor this week on Veterans Day. Honestly, if you DO contemplate the mindset and level of dedication shared by those who willingly serve in the armed forces it’s staggering. “Why yes, I would LOVE to accept a job where people will shower me with bullets and bombs! Possibly facing death on a daily basis? Hell yeah, SIGN ME UP!” And while this may seem a bit hyperbolic to us civilians, this IS the bottom line for those who have accepted a military calling.
MOST noteworthy, they do this to protect millions of people THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW! Now, any parent can understand placing yourself in harm’s way to shield their child from danger. We might even assume a certain level of risk to stand up for a firmly-held belief or principle. But, doing it for total strangers? Yeah, most of us would say “Pass!”
If that’s not the textbook definition of “love” we don’t know what else it could be! Although they may not be personally acquainted with us or have any sort of connection to our lives, their service is a TANGIBLE daily expression of love – for their fellow citizens, for the ideals of their country, for a greater good. Now, THAT’S a hero!
And while heroes have walked among us throughout recorded human history, this Wednesday will represent only the 101st observation of this tribute, originally designed as a sign of appreciation for the recently-returned World War I service personnel in 1919.
So after ALL those who served have done for us, don’t we owe them a proportionate celebration?!? Even if it’s just a simple “Thank You” to any present or former member of the armed forces, that gesture of appreciation has the power to touch their hearts. Fortunately, MANY businesses will be making more “concrete” gestures this Veterans Day to honor their service.
Aside from sending cards, treating veterans to a special meal or outing, and verbalizing a “Thank You” to any service personnel we may encounter, how about giving these “star-spangled” heroes a genuine “star-spangled” tribute this year! Whether it’s planning a patriotic celebration OR sending a “Thank You For Caring” package to the veterans in your life, this is your chance to honor their service and sacrifice. And our “Red, White & True-Blue” consultants will gladly coordinate the perfect gift for those in your life who genuinely DO “serve with LOVE!”