Imagine being informed that you are the one chosen to walk a very long red carpet, fully flanked by sword-bearing soldiers of another nation, while protecting the First Couple. It’s a long walk, and if anything happens to the president and the first lady, both of whom you are now solely responsible for, well, it’s just you to handle the situation. Hopefully, your inner Jason Bourne or 007 kicks in at that moment.
Now imagine the thoughts going through your mind, step by step…keenly aware…anything can happen. And for heaven’s sake, don’t stumble, trip or step on the robe of the guy in front of you. You basically hold your breath until you reach the carpet’s edge where friendly forces and personnel are waiting to join you.
Now, I realize that sounds a bit dramatic, but that’s exactly what happened for one lone marine in full dress uniform on May 20, 2017. Ironically, it was Armed Forces Day. That Marine will go down in history as the lone military personnel selected to walk the tarmac and whose charge was the first couple. An unknown man, forever entrenched in the optics and the imagery, he unwittingly found himself the poster child for this day to be sure.
His children, family, unit and more will brag on him, and that they knew him, for generations to come to be sure.
When you stop to think about it, what gets a person to this kind of appointment—or moment? How is the one who is chosen for that incredible, terrifying honor? How do you get there?
As much as we’d like to think he grew up with that moment in time as a goal, that would be highly inaccurate. No one could have predicted this trip or that scene. You just can’t write that stuff. It’s about timing, training, and trust. What do I mean?
Timing: you can’t predict being in the right place at the right time. Those things just aren’t in your control.
Training: the marine in that iconic photo is living the dream to be sure, but if you could sit down with him and hear his story, you’d probably hear about daily runs and grueling workout, hours and hours of weapons handling and skill work, battle study, and so much more. He would tell you of times where he almost broke, or quit—but didn’t. He made it one more step. That step that would take him closer to his historic appointed time.
Trust: his men, his colleagues, his leadership all must have trusted this man implicitly. He was the shoe-in for this spot. The perfect man for the job, or the man who had worked his way into this position, and when the protocol fell to him, he was ready. Very fitting, as Semper Fi, the Marine Corp Motto, means “always faithful.”
It’s a fitting tribute this weekend, as we pause to remember and thank those who have served and those who currently serve.
As you go through the coming week when the moments come that seek to stall you, frustrate you or beg you to quit. Don’t. You just never know, perhaps this is when the stars will align, and all of your efforts will fall into place and come to fruition.
Just my thoughts
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