Hello and welcome again to SAM Moments™…I’d like to also wish you a belated Happy Memorial Day!
Some weeks I get inspiration from some very surprising places, and this week it came from a great, patriotic article. I hope you enjoy reading this week’s edition and/or watching this short video filmed at our own Burr Ridge Veterans Memorial.
It was very coincidental, and maybe even providential that, in preparing for our own Memorial Day event, I would learn some things about Arlington National Cemetery that I could relate to this week’s message…and to what we do for a living.
I have the privilege of being the chairman of the Veteran’s Memorial committee in my own town, Burr Ridge, IL, and in preparing for our wreath laying ceremony, I read a very interesting article by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (Arkansas), titled Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery.
Well, not only did I learn about the history of our national military cemetery, like that it was first owned by George Washington’s adopted son (George Washington Parke Custis) and the first soldier was buried there in 1864 (Private William Christman). But I was also amazed by the discipline of the “Old Guard” who conducts all the military-honor funerals at Arlington, which they consider a no-fail, zero-defect mission.
The Old Guard is literally the oldest active-duty infantry regiment in the Army, dating back to 1784, three years older even than our Constitution. After WWII, the Army assigned its oldest unit to its most sacred ground: Arlington National Cemetery. This regiment is so disciplined with this duty, that even on 9/11 when the plane crashed into the Pentagon just a couple of miles away, the 9:00 AM funeral was still conducted, as were the 10:00 and 11:00 AM ceremonies. As a matter of fact, even in the face our nation’s most trying times, no funeral was cancelled in the months that followed.
Every day, these soldiers continue to practice their disciplines. For example, each morning they practice folding flags, something they have done thousands of times. They also practice their 21-Gun Salute to make sure they do it exactly the same way each and every time, in unison. And on the Thursday before Memorial Day, called “Flags In” day, they are entrusted to install a flag at every headstone at the cemetery which totals over two hundred thousand (200,000) sites, and that’s in one day!
While reading about Senator Cotton’s tour, I was struck by the sheer sense of patriotism and incredible discipline of the Old Guard soldiers! And the whole scene made me do a little “check-up from the neck-up” as Zig Ziglar used to say, and to ask myself, “What could I personally learn from this and what more can I do to become more disciplined and committed?
I have to admit that one of the things that attracts me to Activity Management is that I’m not very good at it naturally; I have to work at it. And learning about things such as this, that I’ve shared with you about Arlington National Cemetery and the Old Guard, inspires me to improve my own discipline with activity management. So, this is what I’m going to leave you with: Whenever you wonder if you are disciplined enough?
Think ARLINGTON !
Think about the “need for routines” and the need for rituals and self-discipline. Then, think about, “How much more is possible if you were as committed and dedicated as the soldiers of the Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery?”
Think ARLINGTON !
Thank you again, God Bless you, God Bless the United States of America! I’ll see you next week.