For many people this weekend is nothing more than an excuse to eat and drink a little too much and enjoy a three day weekend. While I am not one who would advocate celebrating war, I do celebrate those individuals who have served in the military and found themselves in circumstances most of us can’t even imagine.
In those challenging circumstances so many of them willingly put themselves in harms way to help those around them have a chance at survival. Through the years there have been far too many heroes for me to mention here, however I will share the story of one brave soul and recgonize he represents but one of thousands.
His name was Carlton W Barrett, he was a private in the US army, 18th infantry, 1st Infantry Division. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his brave actions on June 6, 1944 near St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France.
On the morning of D-Day Pvt. Barrett, landing in the face of extremely heavy enemy fire, was forced to wade ashore through neck-deep water. Disregarding the personal danger, he returned to the surf again and again to assist his floundering comrades and save them from drowning.
Refusing to remain pinned down by the intense barrage of small-arms and mortar fire poured at the landing points, Pvt. Barrett, working with fierce determination, saved many lives by carrying casualties to an evacuation boat lying offshore.
In addition to his assigned mission as guide, he carried dispatches the length of the fire-swept beach; he assisted the wounded; he calmed the shocked; he arose as a leader in the stress of the occasion. His coolness and his dauntless daring courage while constantly risking his life during a period of many hours had an inestimable effect on his comrades.
While we remember and celebrate the lives of those who have fallen, I also want to recognize and celebrate those who through their actions made it possible for many to survive.
I also want to suggest that rather than debate the rightness or wrongness of past wars, we focus on the remarkable examples of what is possible when one is fully present in the moment and singularly focused on a desired outcome.
Had Private Carlton actually stopped to think about what he was doing and whether or not it was possible, his rational mind would most certainly have told him it was not, and that he should head for the nearest cover and save himself.
I encourage you to use the example of Private Carlton or any similar person you know, and allow yourself to become fully present. Let go of what you have perceived as past failures. Let go of what you are imagining will or can go wrong in the future.
The only time is now, and now is the only time you can take positive action to create a positive experience in this moment that will also carry on to the next.
If you would like to suggest an individual and/or an event to be featured in Celebration Fridays, please email your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org