I first marched in a Remembrance Day parade back in the fifties. Regardless of the weather, I still attend. A soldier for seven years, I did not push forward to be close to the Cenotaph when I was there yesterday. I allowed others to press ahead as I reflected on those I had served with as well as those who came before and after – some of them long gone – good soldiers all.
I worked with a man years ago who had been an officer in the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. He told me of an airfield they had built in France where the construction went on at night. A curtain of secrecy veiled the fact that it was a phony airfield designed to draw Allied bombing away from an important German target nearby. All the buildings were mere shells and the planes lined up on the airstrip were plywood mock ups.
They worked diligently to make everything look real including the markings on the planes. When they had it completed, one lone RAF plane flew over and dropped a wooden bomb right in the middle of the field. They had not been fooled.
We all, at some point in our lives, assume that others are too stupid to see what we have been up to. We might even feel proud of how clever we have been and enjoy the danger of living close to the edge.
Some people assume they “get away” with these activities for years, but do they really? Can you truly be happy in sneaking your pleasures with fear of embarrassment if caught? What would your spouse, parents, children or friends think if they knew?
Back during my drinking years, I managed to get away with many things for quite some time. There came a point, though, when I finally realized I was only fooling myself.
Not too long after I joined the army, another young soldier and I hitched a ride to Montreal for the weekend. The tattoo I chose shows a dagger passing through a banner stating “Death before Dishonour.”
It is certainly a noble statement and one that I truly intended to keep, but being who I was at that time, the whole idea quickly was abandoned. It was much later that I was forced to face the facts that my life was totally unmanageable. Becoming honest with myself and with others became a necessity for me to embrace the changes I needed to get my life in order.
Living an honourable life is far more than getting the words burned into your arm. Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Being deceitful truly is a fool’s path.
“If you lose your integrity, you will also lose your identity, your sensitivity and your dignity. Integrity is honesty, modesty and security in all kinds of weather. It should be our priority!”
― Israelmore Ayivor