Vets’ choices show definition of bravery in life

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, November 7, 2010

There’s a wise saying that I have to remind myself, “First youmake the choice, then the choice makes you.” I think there’s morewisdom in those 10 words than is first realized.

We’re coming to the time of year when we often reflect on whathas been, and dream of what may come and who we should be.

In recent weeks we’ve read courageous stories from survivors ofbreast cancer, a disease that has both devastated and yet inspiredthe lives of many.

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One thing I’ve learned from the amazing testimonies of faith andstrength is that it’s our choices, in both good times and bad,which define who we really are.

My husband and I constantly remind our girls that the choices wemake either result in consequences or benefits – consequences beingnegative and benefits being positive.

Where we are in our lives is a direct result of choices made byothers and ourselves. Our choices impact not just us, but thosewith whom we come into contact, etc. Each choice is like dropping astone into the pond; the effects, however small, spread out acrossthe world.

Veterans Day is coming up on Nov. 11. The choices that have beenmade through the ages by the men and women in our country’s armedforces have made a profound mark, making our world a safer place tolive.

My grandfather served in the South Pacific in World War II. Hewas a humble farmer from Franklin County, and chose to serve.

His choice led him from the security and safety of Mississippiinto jungles full of danger. He returned home a decorated veteran,and earned the Purple Heart. His choice to serve definitely madehim – stronger, wiser and very aware of how great our country is.He also returned facing nightmares that haunted his sleep for yearsafterward.

Every day, men and women across our country make the samedifficult choice that my grandfather made so many years ago. Bothmothers and fathers are putting their and their families’ lives onhold to protect our country.

They face the consequences of their choice to serve, while theAmerican public reaps the benefits. The choices they make are muchmore profound than the ones that we make daily. We choose where tohave lunch, what to wear, what to watch on television, or what timeto go to bed.

Their choice takes them far from home, away from their parents,spouses and children. Their choice makes them push their strengthto the limits, and learn fighting techniques that their parentspray they will never have to use.

Their choice makes them put their very lives on the line todefend and serve our country. So that the rest of us can sleeppeacefully, knowing that we are secure and safe in our homes.

And once their tour of duty is over, they face the consequenceof having to re-acclimate to a society, which for the most part,has no idea of the horrors that they’ve seen and experienced. Sure,they come home to a big parade and family celebrations. But oncethe dust settles and life returns to “normal,” do those of us whoreap the benefits continue to remember and thank those who face theconsequences?

This Thursday, let’s all make the choice to stop and thank aveteran.

Lifestyles Editor Rachel Brumfield can be reached at The DAILYLEADER at 601-833-6961 ext 134, by e-mail or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven MS 390602.