Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – September 11, 2017
As always, I want to give another thank you to all who forward this message to your departments and staff. You trust me enough to share my message to others, and I strive to not make you regret that decision.
To all reading this message: You have a hard job. I know that, as do countless other people across our communities and great nation. Sometimes encouragement is in short supply, and some of us are our out there working to change that, and to turn the tide of negativity.
There has always been a “that day” for people to remember. The previous generation had dates like the Kennedy Assassination, the attack on Pearl Harbor or another major event. September 11 is that day for me. I can remember what I was doing in detail on that day. Even some of what I said, or other small details that are burned in my memory. I can’t tell you what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I can tell you what channel I changed it to that morning, and what I said to co-workers. (As a side note, it was the day I went on my first date with my wife, who has now became part of the Thin Gold Line.)
So why do those days impact us, and why do we remember so much about them? It’s because we ALLOW it to. We slow down, look around, and turn off our internal “auto-pilot” and see more clearly. We think things through, we contemplate our choices and our lives.
This year marks the 16th September 11th since “the 9/11″. Where do we stand as a nation? Possibly more divided that ever, at least in my generation. So what can we do? How do we bridge the divide. If you listen to the news (which I watch less and less of these days), everyone has an opinion about almost everything. And if you can’t agree with my opinion, then we have to be at odds with each other. But I have a secret to share with you, and all you got to do is tell everyone you know :”You can disagree without being disagreeable”. BOOM. SHOCKING.
But honestly, how do we stop the seemingly downward spiral that society is on? A lot of us have heard the adage “How do you eat an elephant? ONE BITE AT A TIME”. How do we stop the animosity and division in out country? One decision at a time, one choice at a time, one word at a time.
It really is that easy.
There are approximately 2.5 million people who are sworn officers, fire fighters, EMTs and dispatchers as of 2014. And if half of us decided to do one extra good deed per day, that is over 37 million times in a month that someone would benefit from a little extra generosity. That could make a real difference. But it even gets better. Nelson Mandela said “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Take that same number, 37 million. Now let’s say 25% of the recipients of our kindness do the same thing. That becomes almost 47 million times someone is a recipient of an extra good deed in one month, almost 575 million of them in one year.
When I was in technical school in the US Air Force in Biloxi, MS in 1995, one of my instructors said “If you can’t find an example, be one”. Over 20 years have passed and I have not forgotten the advice of Sergeant Teresa Fountain (which by the way if someone knows her, let her know that someone took her advise to heart, and I possibly owe her a meal as many times as she’s been quoted).
We can do this. We can change a Nation, one day at a time. (And if you need some ideas just Google “Random Acts of Kindness ideas” and you’ll be surprised just how simple it can be.
So who can I do more for? What can I do today to brighten the day of someone else? I know what my answers are. What about you?
In closing, as always, thank you so much for who you are, and all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again: You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.