A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to tour the Fort Scott National Historic Site with a group of Marines from the Kansas City metropolitan area. Covering this event made a lasting impression on my mind.
I have always had the utmost respect for the men and women who protect our country; however, on this day, my opinion was altered forever.
Not only do these Marines possess tremendous bravery, continually putting themselves in harm's way on behalf of people they do not even know, but they exhibit high standards, which allow them to value each other in a way unlike the majority of society today.
During a special luncheon, I learned a valuable lesson from these defenders of our country.
When it was time to start the food line procession, the announcer declared the first people through the lunch line would be the four colonels who were sitting at the head of the table. The other Marines were supposed to follow the colonels through the line and then regular citizens would go last. This plan sounded reasonable to me.
However, this is not the way the event attendees ended up going through the line. After the order was given to proceed through the lunch line, the four colonels stood up and backed away from their table, but not one of them would move forward. Maj. Jimenez, the Marine sitting next to me at the table, quickly leaned over and explained the situation to me. Apparently, Marines always look out for those who are lower-ranking than they are. Maj. Jimenez told me that normally the colonels never eat or sleep until they are sure those in their charge have eaten and slept. It is one way the colonels can make sure the Marines they are in charge of have received the sustenance they need.
Maj. Jimenez was barely able to get this explanation out of his mouth, when Col. Waldron announced to the crowd a different plan for serving lunch. In the end, regular citizens went through the line first, then the Marines, followed by the colonels.
This whole exchange highly impressed me. I had to ask myself what everyday life would be like for ordinary people if we had the same mentality the Marines do in regards to looking out for others. If we weren't always "looking out for number one," would Americans be more successful?
What would happen if we didn't spend all our energy trampling on our neighbors and sometimes friends and family in order to make sure we are the ones on top?
A second thought found its way into my thoughts regarding the example the Marines set. These four colonels were the leaders, and they acted like leaders. They did not misuse their authority to get what they wanted. They used their authority to show care and respect for those around them. Under the colonels' care, the Marines are learning everyday to shower those around them with respect and consideration.