Blog Martial Arts

We Are Grateful. Now, what are we gonna do about It?


As a U.S. Army Veteran, people often thank me for my service.

  And, while I am grateful for the appreciation, I feel like the Army did much more for me.

I became a man as a young paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, the Army sent me to college, and I began my learning and love of Leadership as a US Army Officer.

I am eternally grateful to all the great Sergeants and Army Officers who sowed into me becoming who I am today.

I am forever grateful for the amazing education and experiences my years in the Army afforded me; and, as I’ve alluded, I am proud and grateful that I got to give a little back to the Army, those mentors and my country through my service- but I really received so much more than I gave.

But today is Memorial Day, wherein we remember those Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and others who paid the ultimate price that we may be free.

  They are the ones who gave all.

They deserve our honor, gratitude and most of all our commitment to live and lead in a way that honors their sacrifice.

I never gave as much as these heroes, nor even the many combat veterans that still wear the deepest scars of war today, but I did get to serve with them.

  And, based on my experience of their valor, I would believe that this is what they would expect of us this Memorial Day, and every day for the rest of our lives, if we are truly to honor them.

  1. Remember.

    • Today we remember and honor their sacrifice. Most do this today.

    • I would argue this should be an everyday attitude of gratitude.

  2. Live.

    • We should live our lives in a way that honors their sacrifice.

      • They died in defense of our Freedom- but this doesn’t mean the freedom to do willy nilly whatever we want to do and damn the consequence. On the contrary, I believe my brothers and sisters gave their lives in defense of the American ideal, based on the idea our founding fathers had when they penned the inalienable rights as our birthright.

      • We have the right to life and, while this sounds so basic it is not for all in the world. Many people in many countries lack even the most basic requirements for survival and, too, many have been rounded up and killed by many a tyrant in many a nation because they stood in opposition to that dictator’s rule. We need not take either of these blessings for granted. The freedom of speech, freedom to defend our lives and that of those we love, as well as the many blessings of prosperity that spring forth from a free market economy are just some of the freedoms Americans enjoy because many paid the price.

        • We should live in a way that honors that, that is grateful and vigilant, and that continues the mission they started by keeping America free in every way. We need to be cautious of speech and behavior that is espoused as new and better ideas but is in fact just the resurgence of the many iterations of fascism, communism and/or socialism that challenge the key values of American capitalism espoused by life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

        • We need to live in a way that makes the most of the freedom and opportunity that our forefathers and the American military of every generation made for us, by being and becoming the best version of ourselves and then giving the best of ourselves back to our fellow Americans, by the service that we give and contributions that we make to the communities in which we live and the people that we love.

  3. Love.

    • Which leads us to Love. As we are reminded by John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

    • Most of us will not have to die for those that we love, though I hope that we’d be willing.

      • But ALL of us can live and love in a way that serves them.

  4. Lead.

    • Everything rises and falls on leadership.

    •         -John Maxwell

    • For me Leadership is a love, an art, a science and most of all a responsibility.

      • In this call, to remember and honor, I believe we must lead. As in every great thing, it will rise or fall with leadership.

      • We must raise up our children in the way they should go.

        • My wife and I were discussing the importance of continuing to develop patriotism in our kids, to ensure we are never left with a generation not motivated enough to defend our country the way the heroes did.

      • We must lead others by example.

        • Too many today are trying to bring others to their way of thinking through coercion- I would argue this flies in the very face of our greatest American ideals.

        • What we can and must do is to lead by example. We can start by following the example of the men and women that we honor today- by giving ourselves to a cause greater than ourselves, serving others with courage and commitment and following through on the oaths we take.

I pray that God has guided my message such that I am truly honoring the American heroes I am writing for.

  I am humbled and grateful in my memory of them and pray this message reflects that.

If you agree with me on the core of it, join me in honoring them:

  Remember, Live, Love and Lead.

With Humility & Respect,

Stephen Del Castillo

Grateful American