In his commencement address at the University of Texas last year, Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, a Navy Seal, encouraged graduates to recognize the effects of their actions as they entered into the world. Admiral McRaven told the eight thousand graduates that positively impacting just ten peoples’ lives – with each of those paying the act forward to ten more – would produce a ripple effect that would change the population of the entire planet for the better. What we do and the decisions we make affect those around us: that was the point he wished to convey in his brief address to the graduating class.
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The Admiral explained the ripple effect of the first action of the day for disciplined individuals: making the bed. Making the bed, he explained, provides a sense of accomplishment in the morning as the completion of the first task of the day. This leads individuals to want to accomplish more tasks; in short, people who make their beds tend to be productive. Their first decision of the day may seem to have little significance, but the task serves as the catalyst for tackling whatever else the day has in store.
He mentioned the seemingly mundane decisions of soldiers overseas: “A young Army officer makes a decision to go left instead of right down a road in Baghdad and the ten soldiers in his squad are saved from close-in ambush.” Or, he says, “In Kandahar province, Afghanistan, a non-commissioned officer from the Female Engagement Team senses something isn’t right and directs the infantry platoon away from a 500-pound IED, saving the lives of a dozen soldiers.”
The consequences of these decisions, he says, save countless individuals – like the ripple effect of graduates impacting just ten people’s lives. “But, if you think about it,” he said, “not only were these soldiers saved by the decisions of one person, but their children yet unborn were also saved. And their children’s children were saved. Generations were saved by one decision — by one person.”
This Memorial Day, we at Texas Right to Life remember the men and women who gave their lives so that countless others – generations born and preborn – could live. We pray that the freedom for which our servicemen and women fight may one day soon be extended to the most vulnerable among us. And we say Thank You to the families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice for Life and Liberty.