When folks study that I spent 28 years as a Navy provider pilot, they usually thank me for my service.
I do know folks imply effectively nevertheless it’s a bit of embarrassing as a result of until my service concerned precise fight or risking my life to save lots of one other, I’m not anybody’s “hero”. My army service was nothing lower than an honor and a privilege. It was a tremendous expertise for which I’ll all the time be grateful.
As residents of the best nation on earth, there are lots of methods every of us can serve, and we should always serve, in no matter means we are able to. All of us have distinctive abilities to supply. As a bonus, serving others rewards us with important bodily and psychological well being advantages.
My work as a citizen volunteering to assist forestall habit from taking root within the minds of youth is extra essential than something I did within the army. I invite you to hitch me on this effort at SafeLaunch.org as a result of we’re dropping greater than 200 younger lives every single day, due in giant measure to 2 components which work like a knockout punch: the industrial promotion of addictive substances in view of youngsters, and an absence of safeguards that aggressively shield prone teen brains from drug and alcohol publicity. Teenagers have one life, one mind, and one alternative to not use alcohol, tobacco, or another medicine for causes of their well being.
When you’ve got learn this far and share my concern, I supply the next. For most individuals, citizenship is regarded as an official designation connoting allegiance, rights, and privileges with little private accountability. Nevertheless, citizenship means rather more than these simplistic declarations of our trendy society. The idea of citizenship goes again hundreds of years past borders, tribes, cultures, and languages. Take into account this: in our nation, the highest-ranking army officers reply to… Residents.
Above all else, a citizen is a participant, not a bystander. A citizen is a neighbor or pal who sees and acts on behalf of one thing higher than self. A citizen takes accountability for household and the place doable and wanted, lends a hand to others. Examples embrace lecturers and medical doctors who’re prepared to work in areas others would possibly keep away from, caregivers for the sick or disabled, individuals who volunteer for non-profits of their communities, and individuals who volunteer for candidates and causes they help.
A citizen cleans up their group, actually and figuratively. Past simply voting in each election, a citizen goes out of their option to give trustworthy suggestions to their elected officers and holds them accountable once they underperform. Merely voting doesn’t get the job finished; a very powerful work of oversight begins as soon as an election is over.
A nation of energetic residents stays at peace, is protecting of its pure setting, but is prepared to struggle enemies overseas and home when essential.
A citizen takes accountability for ensuring that each younger individual has the chance to develop up in a protected and wholesome setting in order that they will dwell a significant life free from chemical dependency.
Of explicit relevance as we speak, residents are charged with taking accountability within the struggle in opposition to lethal viruses and preventable ailments that focus on sure populations unequally.
In contrast to the present COVID-19 virus, the illness of habit unequally targets a most weak inhabitants, kids. The creating mind is very prone to break from the chemical compounds in alcohol, marijuana, and different medicine in a means that an grownup’s mind will not be. This inconvenient reality escapes scrutiny because of the immense lobbying and advertising energy of the varied habit for-profit industries.
Recognizing and combating habit as a illness of epidemic proportions requires motion. The outcomes of inaction are each unhappy and actual. Early drug and alcohol use alters wholesome mind improvement, primes the creating mind for substance use dysfunction, contributes to the overdose deaths of 80,000 younger People annually, and disables tens of thousands and thousands extra. The result’s shattered households, homelessness, crime, youngster neglect, and youngster abuse.
In 2021, we should do the whole lot doable to advance adolescent substance abuse prevention efforts and cease the scourge of psychological sickness and homelessness that we see rising earlier than our very eyes.
Please don’t simply thank me for my service. Be part of me. Be all of the citizen you will be.
Glad New 12 months,
CDR USN Ret.