We all have different threads that run through the course of our lives. One for me is the number 6. The day of my birth and my favorite number. Another for me is PRIDE. 

I have always been a proud person. Out of college I went to work for the Georgia Pride softball team and finally I associate myself and my tribe of friends as a pride (like a pride of lions).

I have always been attracted to people who carry themselves with pride. Maybe that is another reason I have found a home with our United States Army Infantrymen. If they are not a prideful group of people I don’t know what is. Are you a proud person? Have you been told that pride is a positive attribute or a negative attribute?

I have always been intrigued by pride. Intrigue when I feel it and intrigue when I experience it.

From my general understanding, pride is an inwardly directed emotion. Pride can carry a negative connotation, when it refers to an inflated sense of one’s personal accomplishments and/or status, or pride can carry a positive connotation, when referring to a satisfied attachment to a personal choice or the choices/actions of another (or whole group of people).

So let me clarify. I am filled to the brink with pride for all the amazing people who surround me. Every day I get the great fortune to hear positive story after story of people helping one another, people taking leadership to make life better for someone else, people with humility taking action for the betterment of their community. It truly is amazing.

Sometimes, rather OFTEN times if I am being honest, I tend to get caught up in the negative happenings of the day. All the despicable people rise to the top and tempt me from taking my eye off all the good. Then the inevitable happens, one of my friends does something inspiring and it kicks me right out of my funk and re-motivates me to action.

Many of the great things life has to offer depends on discipline and discipline is based on a sense of pride. People with pride carry themselves differently. They have higher expectations. They encourage me to be a better version of myself.

Yes, yes, I have read all the writings about how sinful pride is to man. Dare I say I don’t buy it? As in everything the poison is in the dose.

The past few weeks I have been around people who had more ego than pride. Somewhere along the line the two have become confused with each other. Maybe that’s why pride gets a bad name. I can assure you, pride requires humility and self-reflection. Ego requires nothing more than an idiot to shelter within.

I have always drawn everything in my life back to my Ranger community. To me there is nothing that emulates pride more than a barrel-chested and steely-eyed Ranger. Pride in standard. Pride in discipline. Pride in standing and fighting shoulder to shoulder with their brothers. Pride in living by a creed. 

I thank the lord each day for allowing me to breathe and experience the greatness of such prideful people. In return I manifest that same pride in my community. Our community.  

It is always sad when those same statuesque and living examples of pride are over-taken by more powerful forces of ego and self-pity. There is nothing more unattractive to me than the previously described self-righteous person with the capacity to give more than they have and take less than they need.

If you search the word ‘pride’ on the internet you will be inundated with information about gay pride and LBGT pride. Somewhere along the line I feel that the word has lost its general meaning in a haze of rainbows.

I will leave you with this. If we want to fix the suicide rates of our Veterans we must understand what Voltaire knew eons ago:

“We are rarely proud when we are alone.”

― Voltaire

If Voltaire is correct and I happen to believe he is, PRIDE is a group activity. Lol.

In order to fall into the depths of suicide one had to have lost their pride somewhere along the line and become mentally isolated. What was once pride in something manifests into self-pity or ego. So, I implore you, re-look at how you define pride. Make it a positive influence in your life. People are counting on you to show them the way.

I have been asked many times, in my life, what is different about me. They just feel that something is different. I reject that notion. What people experience is a tremendous amount of pride in who surrounds me, what I do and who I do it for. That pride makes me disciplined and passionate. That pride is unable to accept mental and physical laziness.

I am so PROUD to call you my friend!! Keep doing your good work and giving it all you’ve got!!! I for one am watching and feeding on your energy!!!