My guest on this week’s show, Chris Albert of the Warrior Soul podcast, dropped a pretty prophetic message on my listeners. He said, “I truly believe that veterans are the sleeping giant in this country.” At a time when this country is struggling with its own identity, we find ourselves at a crossroads. Do we accept our history and come to grips with it? Or do we attempt to erase it from our memory to start anew?
There is a group of people in this country who have developed a unique set of skills to deal with adversity and overcome. Those people are none other than the Millennial Generation. How can that be possible? How can a group of young 30 somethings who are obsessed with their image on social media and different types of avocado toast, find a way to pull this nation up by its bootstraps?
The Millennial Generation has withstood more adversity than many generations and for some reason, people don’t give us enough credit. In my lifetime I have witnessed the stock market crash from a dotcom bubble. I watched the twin towers collapse on themselves and saw the smoke billowing over Manhattan from nearby Sandy Hook. I watched the market crash again during a housing crisis. I watched us invade Iraq and Afghanistan.
We find ourselves amid a pandemic. Something our nation hasn’t experienced since the outbreak of the Spanish Flu over a century ago. As if that weren’t enough we now are witnessing a civil rights movement that seems to be far less peaceful than its predecessor. As a platoon commander, I was taught that the failures of a platoon were a direct reflection of their leadership. Likewise, the failures and struggles of this nation are a direct reflection of our leadership at every single level. From your local community up through the center of the national political stage.
This crisis of leadership knows no color, creed, or sexual orientation. Furthermore, it does not align with a single faction or party. Unlike many things in this country, it does not discriminate in the slightest. Our nation’s leadership crisis is universal. Unlike the media and many of my fellow Americans, I refuse to propose this problem without recommending a solution.
Our nation’s burden now falls on the Millennial Generation to inherit these issues. We no longer have the ability to point the finger. Instead, we must work to find solutions. The entire heritage of this nation depends upon it. Failing to do so would be a slap in the face to all of those who have struggled to provide us this house upon a hill. As a generation, we must work to serve our people and to lead by example. We must be the change we wish to see in our society. That change starts with service.
Why must we do so? I can promise you that regardless of what you have been taught in school, or what the media has convinced you of, the world looks toward America to set the example. As of late, we have failed to set an appropriate one. We have not been the beacon of light for others to look for and flock toward. If your desire for setting the example cannot be an altruistic one then I have another promise for my generation. There is no greater feeling on this earth than to serve your people in a cause you would willingly give yourself up for.
Like many before you, you may not be ready. You may see yourself as unprepared and lacking in the moral fortitude necessary to serve your people. We are rarely ever fully prepared for the service that is needed of us. If you have never in your life heard the call to serve, now is the time when it is screaming in your face. Our country needs a group to step forward and take up the mantle of democracy. To be the bright force that others can call upon to develop their mental fortitude. It starts with giving yourself to your neighbor, followed by your town, your state, and eventually your nation.
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address