This I Believe

William - Irving, Texas
Entered on February 22, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I believe: by William D. Wallace

I recall how proud I was when I was sworn in as a brand new Army second lieutenant. I remember the thrill and responsibility of those 33 sets of eyes looking back at me when I took command of my first platoon. The lessons I learned by leading those men and the responsibility I accepted and eventually sought out transformed me into the man I am today… and the whole time…I knew I would never find wealth in uniform…not monetary wealth…but, I would be far richer for the privilege of being an officer in the service of my country.

I believe that Service to One’s Country, service above self, is a character trait lost on the young leaders of our society. Notice I said society…that collection of social institutions we look to for role models. We have allowed the celebrity and the successful businessperson to lead our society. And I believe that instead of examples to look up to, we have ended up with sound-bites of who is in rehab and who shaved their head.

I believe that Prince Harry’s recent orders to the Basra Region of Iraq as an officer in the Queens Household Cavalry should be a wakeup call to the young role models in our society.

I believe that service in our military and naval forces is not just a privilege, but a chance for growth and contribution of immeasurable proportions…

I believe the thousands of young men and women who have answered the call since 9-11 are far braver and far more honorable than the celebrity who sits on the fence.

Could you imagine Paris Hilton dawning fatigues for a two year hitch? For that matter…could you imagine Matt Damon, Tiger Woods, Mark Cuban, or Michael Dell?

I believe we reward success but somehow it has been to the exclusion of the rewards of character that come from serving with and leading men and women of substance in our country’s Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

I believe that celebrities, like David Robinson, Chad Henning, and Montel Williams… who all graduated from our nations service academies and served as officers and leaders in the Navy, Air Force and Marines have set a precedent that younger celebrities just do not understand. I wonder even now, since achieving their stardom, if they would still return to lead.

I believe that former Arizona Cardinal and United States Army Ranger Pat Tillman should not stand alone as the only modern role model with the desire to risk it all in the service of his country.

I believe we could use a Ted Williams or a Jimmy Stewart or another Pat Tillman or even an American Prince Harry today…someone to show that bravery and loyalty and service above self are priceless…and that leadership in our society is made up of more than selling music cds, sports tickets and movie tickets.