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Monday, July 25, 2016

Doing Our Part. David Lipschitz Letter to the Cape Times published Mon 25 Jul 2016

SO, I'm in a coffee shop in a hotel in Cape Town. And the assistant says "why does the navy only accept people between the ages of 18 and 22?"

And I ask: why do you want to join the navy?

And she says because it's a secure income, she can have time off with her family, and she will get a pension.

I say that these aren't reasons to join the navy.

And then she says that she wants to serve and defend her country, and that she wants to be honoured, and she wants to know that if she spends two weeks with her sick child, that she won't be fired, and that she wants to know that one day when she dies, her colleagues will put the South African flag on her coffin and honour her.

And those are real reasons for joining the navy.

And I say that she can do these things every day in her job.

She serves hundreds of people of multiple nationalities and different cities in the coffee shop in the hotel every single day.

She represents her country.

Every day she has opportunities to show South Africa's face to the world.

She can be honoured by getting the hotel to put up a board of people honoured every month as being the top employee for whatever reason; teamwork, serving the customer, being praised by a customer, preventing a disaster or saving a life.

And I say that I would rather spend two weeks with my sick child and be fired than be sitting in South Sudan fighting a war I don't believe in, and only finding out that my child was sick and died six months later when I return home from "duty".

We can fulfill our mission in multiple ways in multiple places if only we understand the meaning in our words and how it relates to where we are and what we do.

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