I must confess I get a little emotional on those annual occasions in Canada and the United States when men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country are honored. I have had relatives on both sides of the border fight and die in battle over several generations. I lost a cousin who was the same age as me in the Vietnam war.
It has been said that war is the ultimate testimony to a failure of diplomacy and political leadership. Whether that is true, it is a time that never fails to produce remarkable heroes who renew the ideal of duty and sacrifice. They serve today in Iraq and Afghanistan, while their families share their burden at home. It is work that pays too little and often demands a cost that cannot begin to be measured, except perhaps in the tears of loved ones.
We hear a lot of talk in this 21st century Gilded era of record stock markets and wealth at the top about what great leaders CEOs are. We are told they are worth all the many millions they command and then some. It is not uncommon to see them paid a fortune even when they fail or to see them bail out with a golden parachute and leave shareholders in the lurch. Above all, is the idea that no CEO must be left behind.
Frankly, there are days when I believe a single company of men and women in the field of battle know more about leadership and sacrifice than all of the Fortune 500 CEOs combined. And to me, they are worth a hell of a lot more.