This I Believe

Dundeago - Kansas City, Missouri
Entered on March 7, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: community
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Having Respect For All People

I was raised to respect all people regardless of race, religion, sex, and culture. This basic belief in showing honor to everyone has proven to be very beneficial in my life. While serving 20 yrs in the military, I traveled overseas and encountered a variety of individuals with different backgrounds and beliefs. The simple act of making strangers feel important, and worthwhile caused me to have wonderful relationships with a melting pot of individuals. Consequently, my peers, subordinates, and leaders trusted my judgments when settling confrontations, recommending promotions, making corrections and taking charge of any mission.

While stationed in West Germany I was able to ride the train system and one day I got lost. Even after passing the basic Germany classes required by the Army, my pronunciations were still terrible. But, to my surprise most German citizens speak English; they just want to see if Americans will attempt to speak their language. Once again, my decision to value their culture enough to at least try to communicate impressed them, so they had mercy on and showed me how to get home.

During my last tour of duty in South Korea, as usual my belief system allowed me to become friends with the K.A.T.U.S.A. soldiers (Korean Augments into the United States Army.) Eventually, I was chosen to teach them Basic English so the could converse with their American roommates, peers and leaders. This was a great honor for me, so I was mindful to avoid the profanity and stick to proper language.

I was shocked to find that they wanted to learn how to approach American girls. My advice was to conduct themselves like gentlemen, acting with respect and courtesy to all females. As an ambassador of good will, it was important to instruct these young men to have consideration for others.

Finally, there was a KATUSA on my team too, and when asked who should receive awards after a very successful training exercise, I said everyone! It feels great to know that throughout my military career, I was able to be a positive influence in the lives of countless people around the world.