Matt Lauer of the Today Show had four Congressional Medal of Honor winners on the show this morning, Dec. 31, 2103. Lauer began by discussing what it meant to win the Medal of Honor on Dec. 31, 2013. Lauer read from their citations about the acts of courage that won each individual their recognition. The honorees are Colonel Jack Jacobs, Staff Sergeant Leroy Petry, Staff Sergeant Ty Carter and Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta.
Lauer talked to each soldier about what it meant to them to get this honor. Each person expressed thankfulness that they were able to help their fellow soldiers. Each soldier talked about the many others that had fought and died without the same recognition. They all expressed their thanks for the people in their lives at home. Lauer was visibly touched by what these men had experienced and what they had to say.
Giunta told Lauer that they were not fighting because they hated those before them, but for the people they left behind. You can read more about Staff Sargent Guinta from the Whitehouse blog that described his heroism and the medal presentation.
At the end of the interview, Lauer asked the men what people should say to soldiers in uniform when they encountered them in their travels and daily life. The recipients agreed on the proper response.
We all have the opportunity to be thankful. It starts with being thankful for the day we are about to experience and the intention to make the day useful. Every person on this earth is here for a purpose. Those that recognize that they are fulfilling their purpose are always thankful for the opportunity to serve others, and to serve their selves.
For some, they are thankful that their life is ending. When we encounter a person that is passing and they are facing this process of dying with cheer and courage, we see the energy that is within us to be a powerful human being. There are many people that need an end to their suffering, and they are thankful that death provides the gate into a different existence.
Life is full of ironies. Many fear success more than failure; fear living fully more than dying; and embrace the negativity of pessimism over the positive optimism that all things work for the greater good.
When we recognize that there is much for which to be thankful, we transform our life views to focus on what is good. We deal with the negative as necessary. If we can look at the good in every event, we can see how we are being taught the lessons we need to learn. We can look back on what happened in our lives and determine how we got to where we are today.
Today marks the end of another artificial block of time we call a year. Tonight will mark the transition into another year. In reality, each day can be viewed as just another day or an opportunity to progress as human beings.
Thankfulness is a source of energy to keep us moving forward. Thankfulness changes our views, and our thankfulness helps others to change their attitudes and world views. Have a safe and Happy New Year. Be thankful for what you have; what you don’t have; and that you are here.