Can I honor someone for showing great courage when I have some disagreements about that person’s ultimate goals?  Can I honor someone’s compassion while disagreeing with some parts of their lifestyle?

In many small towns the firefighting is done by volunteers.  Those volunteers don’t have to be the best of friends, sometimes they are even competitors in business, but they get together to do heroic things when the community need is great.

The vast majority of the charity work done in our country is done by volunteers.  They come from many walks of life, faith groups and ethnicities.  When the need is acknowledged, these differences are set aside and honorable things are accomplished.

The American military is all-volunteer in that the draft has been set aside for decades.  There is a wide variety of ethnicities, faiths, and political leanings represented within this volunteer group.  They set all these differences aside to serve the country they have in common.  We can honor them all without agreeing their mission or the political leaders that send them on those missions.

What I honor in all those who serve in our military is the heart, expressed in their commitment, courage and compassion, to serve something greater than themselves. If any are willing to serve with their whole lives and to risk their lives to serve others and the common good, they are heroes.  It would be great if that kind of heart could beat in all of us.

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