Happy Day-Before-The-Fourth of July! (If you’re not from the US, happy celebrating the freedoms that you have and the people who went before you that made it possible).
In my last blog post I talked about an important lesson I learned from Disney. I have more to share about that, but I’m taking a break today.
I want to share an experience I had last weekend in Washington DC with my 8 year-old-son Koen, that featured 16 former veterans that between them only had 22 legs.
So first things first…why was I in Washington DC with my son?
Two reasons. First, my wife and I started this deal last year where instead of always doing big family trips, we take each of our kids on a 1-parent and 1-kid trip. There are three rules:
1) You have to fly on an airplane
2) You have to stay in a hotel
3) You can’t go anywhere you know people
It was Koen’s turn for his trip.
The second reason is that Sean Greeley (one of my best friends and SixthDivision Partner) was hosting the final event of an annual program he runs called Pushups For Charity. The purpose of Pushups For Charity is to give back to returning war veterans when they come back, and I wanted to support the cause.
This final event was being held in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, and Koen really wanted to check out the monuments and see the White House, so we booked us some tickets.
It was an AWESOME trip, and I came away with a great reminder of how to approach life and with an unexpected lesson in leadership.
In case you haven’t been to Washington DC, let me describe the layout. You have the Lincoln Memorial with its massive set of steps. Then directly in front of that you have a walkway that is flat that people can walk across. Then you hit another set of stairs that leads to another landing area just in front of the Reflecting Pool. We were on that final landing area.
So you have a ton of people visiting the monuments, and you have these volunteers and veterans in their bright red Pushups For Charity shirts rocking music and inviting people to come do pushups.
The way it works is you get a group of 15 or so people who are willing to come see how many pushups they can do in 90 seconds. Each of the veterans are there to encourage and record the results. The goal for the day was to do 50k pushups.
So basically they’re hanging out all day in the sun, trying to convince the unsuspecting tourist to sweat and get their blood pumping a little, all to support veterans.
To make a longer story shorter, they hit their goal of 50K pushups at about 2:30 in the afternoon. Koen and I were lucky enough to be there when the last group went, so we were able to participate when they hit their goal. (For the record, Koen did 35 pushups and I squeaked out 50 – yeah, I know. I have some work to do).
Then we got to listen to the veterans talk about Pushups For Charity, and why they do this event. That’s when the group lined up and I was able to grab this picture. The reason I grabbed this picture is because I wanted to document how my son was mesmerized by these men who had fought for his freedom. It was awesome.
But after I snapped the pic, I realized there were 16 people but between them, they only had 22 legs (that’s an average of 1.375 legs per person). And you know what, I don’t think you could have found a more energetic, positive group of people. There was no complaining or whining about their situation. They were excited about life and happy to be able to help other people.
I couldn’t help but have an overwhelming sense of appreciation for those who have sacrificed for me. Not just time, but limbs, family members, and sometimes lives. It was a great reminder to not get so caught up my world that I forget the realities that are occurring around me.
So I want to say thank you to anybody and everybody who has made the freedoms we enjoy possible. I realize that my little blog post with my little “thank you” in my little world is massively insignificant to the overall scheme of things, but I’m posting it anyway… 😉
And Happy Fourth of July. Again.