The values of the Medal of Honor are represented by the heroic actions of the service men and servicewomen who have earned the award, but do you know what those values are and how to apply them in everyday life? The six values of the Medal of Honor are courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and commitment. Let’s start by defining what these words mean and then think about how to apply them in our everyday lives.
The first value instilled in every member of the armed service is courage. Courage is strength in the face of great fear or adversity. It takes courage to do the right thing when faced with danger or difficult decisions. This value is the hallmark of the Medal of Honor and can be practiced anywhere, not just on the battlefield. Difficult decisions arise everyday and how you face them determines the outcome. When you face your next difficult decision, try applying the following steps. Start by embracing your fear. Admit you are afraid, face your fear, and then demonstrate courage by taking action in spite of it. This exercise will set you up for living a more courageous life.
Sacrifice is the act of putting other considerations ahead of our own needs and desires. We learn this value early in life, but many of us struggle to apply selflessness day-to-day. To live this value, practice delayed gratification and detach yourself from your owns elf-interests when engaging with others. For example, a teacher staying late to tutor struggling students is sacrificing their personal time for the betterment of their community.Consider the parent who packs their lunch for work to save money for their child’s college tuition. Even the smallest sacrifices add up to make a big difference and contribute to the common good.
Patriotism is offering devote loyalty and support to your nation. It is something you feel in your heart and demonstrate in your actions. Patriotism has no political affiliation.Patriotism is more than a display of proper flag etiquette. To practice patriotism, first, consider your country’s freedoms and values, and then place them above your personal preferences. Demonstrate those values that make our nation great and set the example for others.
Citizenship is means being involved in your community, respecting others, showing compassion, and assuming personal responsibility in your role as a United States citizen.Practicing good citizenship is as easy as volunteering your time at events within your community. There are nonprofit organizations dedicated to living the value of good citizenship and traditionally the volunteer hours are geared towards a busy work-life schedule. Find a nonprofit that’s right for you and lend a hand today.
Integrity is synonymous with honesty, good character, and having strong moral principles.To practice integrity, follow a personal code of conduct that demands consistent ethical standards for your behavior. Be honest and make your best effort in all endeavors. Your personal code of moral conduct may stem from your religion, family tradition, or from some other formative experience. When you work on improving your personal integrity, you enrich your own life and improve the lives of others.
Commitment is dedicating time, energy, and resources to a specific cause. Practicing commitment is as simple as staying true to your promises. Take time and think carefully before making a commitment. Once you make a commitment, take ownership of your obligations and always follow through. Many commitments can last a lifetime. Living this value isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Everyone should aspire to uphold the values represented by the Medal of Honor and its Recipients. Now it’s easier to apply these values every day and recognize them in others.Live these values and you’ll be doing your part to make the world a better place.