Rising to New Heights
Updated: Nov 26, 2022
"When the tide rises in the harbor, all the ships rise."
Both of us being raised in the home of a Marine, the American flag has a deep meaning of honor and patriotism. The flag represents so much more than just a red white and blue piece of fabric blowing in the wind. It represents, what we stand for as Americans and cries out for liberty and justice for all. The Red, White, and Blue did not just happen by accident. The founding fathers wanted the colors to have meaning, not just look visually pleasing. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.
When asked in an interview for the official U.S. military website, an anonymous U.S. Army veteran said: “Our flag is the symbol of the things we as Americans hold in our hearts and minds. The power to guard and protect loved ones, homes, beliefs, and Americans in general; deserving or not. The Stars and Stripes mean this is the United States of America, WE ARE! Having the privilege to serve this country in the U.S. Army gave me the opportunity to show the love I have for this country, and the pride we have in defending it.”
This army veteran shares the sentiments of so many of his comrades even those who have returned home and found themselves incarcerated. It takes a particular type of person to serve and sacrifice. It takes someone who loves and values the country they serve on a level that goes to their core. A sacrificial act of service and commitment.
We have found many men and women veterans who are living years behind prison bars but still to their core love their country and are proud of their years of service defending our freedom. We just recently launched a new veterans program in Woodville, Texas at the Gib Lewis Unit. This is our newest unit to serve, and these men are so blessed to be reactivated within the KPM Leadership Academy veterans program. They have shared how this program and the gathering together with other veterans have given them a reason to live again. They have shared that they feel excited about something for the first time in years.
We are so also very proud to share that through the KPM Leadership Academy, we have instituted the raising and lowering of the flag each day right outside the entrance to the unit. We now have two of four units that have been approved to do this each day. This simple but profound act of patriotism has brought great positive awareness within the unit. It has also created a new awareness within the staff that many of these veterans who are incarcerated are war heroes, purple heart recipients, sergeants, lieutenants, tank commanders, army rangers, and navy seals and have served numerous tours of duty to protect our freedom. This new awareness is bringing honor and unity within the veterans as the staff begins to see them differently.
Each morning at dawn the men march out to raise the flag Reveille can be heard by the entire unit and staff. Then again each evening at dusk they hear Taps as the flag is being lowered. This is giving these men purpose and meaning once again. They feel like they are making a difference in the unit and others can see it, hear it, and feel it. We believe that "when the tide rises in the harbor all the ships rise." As they begin to rise up and make positive changes others will also rise. They will rise in their attitude, decision-making, mindset, behavior, speech, honor and respect, and in so many other ways.
Thank you partners for assisting us in the purchase of flags, flag poles, military berets, neck scarves, flag neck halters, food, drinks, cakes, and everything needed to get this program established and up and running.
We had our first graduation and Veterans Day Celebration combined on November 11th, at this unit celebrating our veterans and their accomplishments. This is a new beginning for many of these men as they expressed that this has given them excitement, hope, purpose, and respect which they have not felt in a long time.
We are currently preparing to launch five new courses within the next few weeks in this unit. It is so encouraging to see how they are being activated once again. One of our students and the leader of the veteran's group who was a tank commander in the US Army and served four tours of duty in Iraq said that before we arrived at this unit he asked the Lord if he would give him another chance to lead men again. With big tears in his eyes, he said, "and now he has answered my prayer." God is transforming lives and we are so very grateful to be right in the middle of it!