Imagine being born in a concentration camp. Now imagine your family being placed there by your government only because of your cultural heritage. How would you prove your loyalty to the country that put you there? That is what happened to Vincent Okamoto and his family in 1943 at the outbreak of World War II.
Integrity in battle
On a crisp morning of an Autumn solstice, Julius led his men towards their adversary not knowing how the next day would unfold. Under intense pressure from the enemy, Julius and his men battled fiercely while forging up steep hills. It was a strange, dangerous place. Julius aimed to do what’s right when everything around him told him to do the opposite. The battle forced him to confront his fears. He was faced with hard moral choices in the circumstances without the usual external restraints. Julius relied on his inner resources to not quit and to continue.
2nd Infantry Division north of the Chongchon River, Sergeant First Class Cleveland, weapons squad leader, points out North Korean positions to his machine gun crew. November 20, 1950.
Virtue of Compassion
There are fantastic examples of people who demonstrated the virtue of compassion over their lifetime. Stories like these are a reminder of our humanity. They help us put our own lives in context with other people we share our world. One story is the life of Clara Barton. Her story is well told with her role in helping the wounded during the American Civil War and forming the American Red Cross. Every person can learn about the virtue of compassion from the life of Clara Barton. Here are a few highlights of her story.
Power of Perseverance
Sometimes life can be a challenge. People who overcome adversity inspire us to face our challenges. The power of perseverance is an essential ingredient in facing challenges and for human progress. Sydney Shachnow is an inspirational example of a man who demonstrated the power of perseverance over a lifetime.
Sidney Shachnow was born in Kaunas, Lithuania and raised in a Jewish family. From the ages of seven to ten, Nazis imprisoned him in the Kovno concentration camp during World War II. The camp was a ghetto initially housing over 40,000 Jewish families. Only 5% of the people survived the camp once it was liberated by the Russians in 1944.
Major General Sidney Shachnow
Stars and Stripes by Meredith Tibbetts
November 13, 2015
War History Online by Jinny McCormick
October 25, 2017
What is honor? The story of Pat Tillman
What is honor? Honor is respect that is given to someone who is admired for their actions. We often see, hear and read stories honoring those who sacrificed for others. A life of honor is living the values of duty, selfless service, loyalty, personal courage, respect, and integrity. People who make honor a part of how they live daily inspire others to live with honor. They solidify that habit with every choice they make. Honor is a matter of carrying out, through action, values in everything we do.
Pat Tillman June 2003 Photo by U.S. Army
Humility is strength
In the context of warfare, humility may elicit images of weakness, submissiveness, and fear. I suggest that this is a false idea of humility. Real humility is a sign of strength, authentic confidence, and courage. It is the mark of a virtuous person. Benjamin Franklin pursued the goal of living a virtuous life and he sought to attain it through living 13 virtues. One of these virtues is humility- having the quiet confidence to allow your actions to speak for themselves.
General Grant at Cold Harbor, Virginia June 11, 1864
Stars and Stripes
October 1, 2017
August 4, 2017