Thank You

I detest the selfie. Cameras have been around a long time, but not until everyone had a camera in their phone did the world turn the camera around and say “look at me!” and take thousands of pictures of themselves. I even created a Twitter account for @noselfiesplease and a Facebook page for NoSelfies. It’s that bad. Do you take a lot of selfies? Yeah. That. Not trying to be mean, but the selfie represents, to me, everything that’s wrong with the world today: it’s all about “me” instead of about others. Our society has reached a level of narcissism that’s almost toxic, and it bothers me greatly.

But that is just this one man’s opinion, and its worth as much as you paid to read this post. I say that because as I was soaking up all the wonderful tributes to our fallen military, I found many things that inspired me. Here are the ones that stood out, including a local Georgia boy who set a high bar.

First, Kyle Carpenter, a decorated marine who jumped on a grenade to save his fellow marine. Carpenter was badly wounded, but survived. Below is a picture of the 8th and youngest living recipient of the Medal of Honor, shortly after he returned home.

After receiving the Medal of Honor, Carpenter had dozens of surgeries to repair his body from all the injuries inflicted upon him by the grenade he so selflessly fell on. Below is a much more recent picture of Carpenter after being decorated with the Medal of Honor. He has not lost his desire to excel, as you can see from his Instagram account.

I bring Kyle Carpenter to your attention for many reasons, the first and foremost of which is summed up in a reaction to his picture on Instagram announcing “It’s official!”: “This guy jumped on a grenade to save his friend. I don’t think anyone can doubt that he is a hero.“ But the other reason has to do with my short rant at the beginning of this post. Yes, I detest selfies, but you know what? This guy, this hero, Kyle Carpenter, has an Instagram account on which he posts many, many selfies. To Kyle Carpenter, a hero, I say, take all the selfies you want! You, sir, have earned them, and anyone who is blessed enough to be in one of your selfies should consider it the honor of a lifetime.

Also, I tell my son, every time he skins a knee or somehow gets bloody like any good American 13-year-old boy does every now and then, “chicks dig scars.” How amazed was I to find out that Kyle Carpenter’s Instagram handle is, you guessed it, @chicksdigscars. I highly recommend you follow this real American hero on Instagram.

Thank you for your service, Mr. Carpenter. Well done. You are a hero.

I also found this gem today, in which an 11-year-old boy visited Normandy last June on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. But this pre-teen outdid himself, as he dressed in full battle fatigues, carried an American flag out to the beach, planted the flag, and saluted for more than an hour and a half. Read the entire story here. Below is an image I’ll not soon forget.

To this picture, I ask, “Who will be our greatest generation, to rid the world of the current global scourge that threatens lives and liberty everywhere?” Perhaps this young man will be the leader we so desperately need.

A little more locally, just around the corner in Marietta, GA, every year the National Cemetery in Marietta is the site of a wonderful Memorial Day tribute to our fallen soldiers. One young man, Cody, set up the “Missing Man Table” across the street from the cemetery, saluting and honoring all the veterans past and present with his noble act.

Again, well done. Perhaps this next generation will be the strength and leadership that will lead our great nation back to its place of leadership in the world by promoting liberty over tyranny.

Thank you, Kyle Carpenter, Cody, and the young man on Normandy Beach last year, for setting an incredible example.

All through scripture, God commands the nation of Israel to set up memorials, because God knows our propensity to forget what he has done for us. How much more quickly do we forget what our soldiers have done, and continue to do for us. They willingly, voluntarily put their lives on the front lines so that we can live in freedom. Memorial Day is our memorial that we should remember those who gave their lives for the cause of liberty.

My words are weak and simple in expressing my gratitude. Abraham Lincoln said it much better:

“I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

Thank you.

What do you think?