Remembrance day is tomorrow and I felt compelled to write a post about it. This year, remembering the fallen soldiers has truthfully pulled me through some of my toughest times to date. I have spoken here before how I often find myself at the cenotaph reflecting on things. This week was no different.
Last year I had the honor of working at the Invictus Games. It was truthfully one of the highlights of my career. Not because of Prince Harry (although that was a bonus), but because of what the games represented to me. I had to bring the best version of myself to those games. It was hard to prepare for an event of that magnitude. I was working with new sports, different equipment and challenging venues. I had to rise up and find the best parts of my leadership, courage and strength in order to make sure those athletes were safe and protected when they were in my care. I got the opportunity to see myself as my best self and it was great.
I also got an opportunity to meet some amazing athletes. Their stories touched. moved and inspired me every single day and motivated me to show up and be the best version of myself. It is their stories of strength and perseverance that have helped me through tough times.
You see, everyday you can can go to work. You may fight with your boss, your spouse, your kids, etc. You may bicker at the people in the coffee line-up, grocery line-up, or on the commute. These are normal everyday things that we all experience. The difference, I learned from the soldiers at the Invictus Games, was that when they went to work that day, something went terribly wrong. They might have ran over and explosive device. Or been shot. Or witness a friend die. Not your everyday struggles. Real. Big. Struggles.
But guess what? Here they were, at the Invictus Games on my table before or after their competition telling me their story of survival. Of courage. Of bravery. Everyday there are people who put themselves in harms way in their work life, so that we can complain about our work life. They risk not going home, so that we can complain about our commute. These first responders, soldiers, officers, fire fighters, rescue workers etc., are all around us every day and sometimes we fail to notice the sacrifices they make in their work so that we can live comfortably. You may not always agree with politics, but their work is protecting you and it takes a toll on them and their families. I’ve seen it first hand.
When the darkness hits me (and it comes in waves) I just keep thinking of those soldiers I met from all over the world. I think of their stories, their families and even their lovely service dogs and I know I can get through it. Their stories will stay with me forever. Their faces changed me and have helped me find courage.
So I wanted to write this post to pay tribute to all those who have put themselves in harms way to protect me and my family. I may never meet you, but I thank you. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. And to those who have paid the ultimate price, I am forever grateful.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be,
For my unconquerable soul
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the year
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley