I've recently begun watching TED Talks on Netflix. TED is a gathering of people from assorted disciplines (originally Technology, Entertainment and Design; but, that has grown since its inception).
The speakers at the TED talks gatherings discuss architecture, love, religion, exploration and more. And, the attendees (for which there is a VERY long waiting list) come from business, education, the arts, industry, the military and politics. Gatherings are held in San Diego, Palm Springs, Denver, Atlanta and other American cities. In the recent past, TED has expanded to foreign audiences and gained an even greater following.
Last night, I watched a wonderful talk by General Stanley McChrystal, former head of American forces in Afghanistan. He presented a 17-minute talk about the nature of courage and heroism. He related stories about how he had seen boys and girls become men and women when the situation demanded. He talked about the Ranger code of leaving no one behind. And he talked about finding heroes.
General McChrystal pointed out that soldiers are trained to be heroes. They go into every situation knowing that they may be called upon to prove their courage and heroism. But, he noted, there are heroes in our everyday life, and we need to nurture and recognize them at every opportunity.
There are heroes who deliver meals to the homebound. Those same heroes give rides to the sick and elderly who might not be able to drive themselves. And, they check in on those folks to make sure they're doing well.
Heroes work as teachers, preparing a new generation to take on the world. They work as ministers, guiding their flocks through emotional and psychological hard times. They stand at our sides through the happiest of times and help us to appreciate them. Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, colors and sexes. And, they are both paid and unpaid in the duties they perform.
Heroes are the people who have stopped and help us when we had a flat tire or car trouble far away from town. They are the people who notice we've dropped our wallet, pick it up and hand it back to us. They are the people that show up when we're getting ready to move, and they have a pickup, a trailer, and a cooler of beer.General McChrystal urged his audience to seek the heroes in their lives. He advised the audience to recognize them and honor them, for it is the quiet heroes in our lives that make the biggest difference every day.
This weekend, we have the opportunity to honor some of our own quiet heroes. The Mason Volunteer Fire Department will be holding their annual barbecue fundraiser out at the Community Building. We all have the chance to not only provide them with a donation to show them we support their efforts, we also have the chance to tell them how much their services mean to us.
Day in and day out, the volunteer firefighters give up their time to keep us safe. Day or night, they answer the call. They risk injury and death heading into blazing infernos, and they do it for us.
So, this Saturday, answer General McChrystal's call to honor our volunteers. Even if you only stop by to pick up a barbecue plate, do so. If you can stay for the auction, do that. But mostly, find the time to stop and talk to the volunteers.
Tell them how much their service means to you and your family. Thank them for their time, their service and their sacrifices. And tell them that they are your heroes. They are our heroes!
It’s all just my opinion.