Noticing a Whisper of Smoke

DSN9118-2-MStanding on a hillside at a national cemetery I looked over the beautiful yet disturbing view of burial markers pristinely laid out in magnificent order. It was an awesome but troubling sight. I recalled the same formation in cemeteries I had visited near the airport in Minneapolis, at Arlington, and even a small one in St. James, Missouri.

This resting places for countless numbers of soldiers who may have died in service, or at least served in honor of their country. Each location, scattered across the country, with its markers laid out in order serves as a receipt for the cost of our freedom. These, a necessary reminder of a debt owed that is never fully satisfied; that though paid many times with too many lives; still demands payment. The cemeteries never full, the receipt never finished.

Here lies leadership. Hearts submitted to a calling and purpose greater than their own lives or singular cause. The need of the whole considered greater than the need of the individual. Candles with flames snuffed but offering an everlasting smoke that lingers upward as a memorial to their sacrifice.

These were lives given not in the seeking of power but, more nobly, lives given to empower the ideal, the cause, the purpose. Lives given in sacrifice to empower a nation. We dare not forget, but urgently must learn.

Great leadership is not about power, but about empowering others.

Copyright 2015 Leadersbridge

Written by Craig Wagganer

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