It's been a long time ago, when the bus from the classification center delivered us to Bravo 1,1. It was my company area where I would be trained to be a Solider in the U S Army. I was a naïve 19 year old from down in Wilkerson Hollow in Joelton, Tennessee. Everybody knows that in Tennessee we practice Southern hospitality. I think I grinned ...and spoke to everybody I met on the street, as a matter of fact everybody did. Now I was in the Army and my southern hospitality wasn't ready for the men with the Smokey the Bear hats that were standing waiting for our bus to stop. I knew that there would be a Drill Sergeant, but I kind of thought we would be assigned one, and we'd kind of follow him around learning about being a soldier. When the bus stopped and the door opened, three of the drill Sergeants stormed on the bus, shouting at us, calling us names and ordering us to get off the bus. And they yelled and shouted at us all the way to the barracks. As a matter of fact, they yelled at us the whole time we were there.
That same day they lined us up and began to teach us how to march. I learned that there were two different kind of lefts, my left and the Military left, and most of the time they were not the same. The Drill Sergeant always insisted we use the military left. There was a special moment when I realized who I was. We were marching and I noticed that everybody, but me was out of step. My Drill Sergeant looked back at me and I saw fire in his eyes. He got right behind my ear and screamed at me. I thought, “I've seen this before.” It was the same way Sergeant Carter yelled at Gomer Pyle. I thought to myself, “I'm Gomer!! That's exactly who I am. I'm a Gomer! When I laughed, it made the drill Sergeant shout louder.
One thing that this Gomer could do was run. After a few weeks of training I had the stamina to run. One day we were on the rifle range and we were ordered to run back to our barracks several miles away. After we had run 1 or 2 miles, soldiers began to quit and fall out, but we were ordered to keep running. After several miles, we came to a big hill that the troops had a special word of endearment describing it. I will not be sharing that word with you. More soldiers fell out, but I kept running. I began to make wise cracks about those who fallen out and made remarks about those who looked as if they were about to drop.
Then I decided to show off, I turned around and started to run backwards making fun of the others. I hadn't gone far before my feet slipped out from under me and I fell flat on my back. I lay on the ground moaning, everybody laughed at me as they looked down at me and ran past. The drill Sergeant, my friends; everybody laughed. I figured if I hadn't been such a jerk, somebody would have offered me a hand up, instead they just laughed.
The Bible teaches us to: “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you.” It's a principle that really works in life. If you want kindness, be kind. If you want compassion, be compassionate. If you want to be loved, be loving to others. Want a helping hand up when you fall? Give a helping hand!