My family and I went to the Memorial Day parade to honor the men and women who fought and died for our country and our freedom. This holiday is especially important to me because my dad fought in World War II. After the parade, a ceremony took place. The band music, the singing, and the 21-gun salute was moving and brought tears to my eyes, but what really touched my heart was the Boy Scouts of America’s winning “What Honor Means to Me” essay by Nathan Kleiber. Nathan’s essay follows:
On Memorial Day, we honor the men and women who fought and died for our country and our freedom. We remember their sacrifice. We have an opportunity each and every day to honor them by choosing kindness over hate, by choosing to encourage instead of judging, by choosing to get involved and change a life forever instead of just focusing on ourselves. We can ask ourselves this every day, “Have I definitely influenced someone today through my words, my actions, and my deeds, and was it for the better? Did I honor those who gave their life for me?”
We can honor our military by living our lives as not only good citizens, but great citizens. This of course means you have to reach out of your comfort zone. Get to know your neighbors and help one another out. It means those two words that people might not want to hear: GET INVOLVED. When we build great communities, we are thinking of those who have fought and died for our right to live freely, choose freely, and speak freely. Freedom does not mean we can do whatever we want. It means we need to choose our actions and what we say with great care, with honor.
If we are going to honor those who fought and died for our freedom by honoring our community, our honoring should start at home. We build community at home, too. It all has to start at home. Kids honor their parents by helping with chores around the house, getting involved with their families, doing their homework, and doing what is right. It’s like a seed that grows and the seed starts at home with your family.
When we choose to be great and get involved, we honor those who fought for our freedom. We can ask ourselves, “Have I helped anyone in my community this week, this month, this year? Have I volunteered at least an hour of my time?” There are so many opportunities to help right here where we live.
One person that taught me about honor is my mom. My mom makes sure we have a good and close relationship with our community by volunteering. My mom always shows other people respect and is always honest. My mom has always told me to do the honorable thing like after a game, win, lose, or tie, shake our opponent’s hand and say, “Good game.”
My Scout leaders have also taught me what honor means by respecting others, living the Scout Oath and Law every day, my duty to God and Country, and service to others. They taught me that it is more than just doing the tasks at hand, it is cheerful service and connecting with those you interact with.
Honor in my Troop means I honor my patrol by listening to my patrol leader and getting involved with not only the tasks we do, but also the people I’m sharing those tasks with. I honor my senior patrol leader by doing a great job in the leadership role I was assigned and not just to get by, but always do my best. I also honor my scoutmaster and leaders by participating in our troop events and campouts, volunteering for service hours, getting involved, being a good role model for the other scouts, and living the scout oath and law every day.
Calvin Coolidge, our thirtieth president, said it the best, “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
Thank you, Nathan Kleiber, for your essay. It was an honor to hear you read it.
To our men and women in uniform, past, present, and future, God bless you and your loved ones and thank you.