Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Last week, I heard Eric Greitens, a Navy SEAL and a best-selling author, talk during a Celebration of Service and Sacrifice 10 years after 9/11. Greitens talked about his training -- getting through it and how it related to everyone's front-line experience in life. In his SEAL training, in his class, about 10 percent of those that started finished the training. He mentioned three ways trainees could get out of the program. They could say, "I quit," ask for a DOR (drop on request) or ring a bell three times to signify they were leaving.

Most trainees quit, he noted, when they were thinking about what was to come; very few quit while doing something. The activity of doing something in the service of their friends is what kept them going, not the global war on terror or orders from above, Greitens said.

His message: Serve the people next to you, whoever they may be, whatever they may need.

My children don't remember the attack. Thankfully, they were too young to remember the numerous hours of television coverage that we probably should not have watched together in the days and weeks following the attack. They don't remember the sound of the military jets flying over our home in the weeks following the attack. What they will remember as they grow are the stories that my husband and I tell them: How we responded, what we did, how we carried on.

In retrospect, volunteering for Genesis was the best thing that I could have done as a response to the attack on Sept. 11. No longer focused on myself, focused on others. Genesis is now in a new, larger building and is serving more families and children than they were a decade ago.

Greitens was right. Maybe the best way to remember is to find a way to serve those next to you.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.