People Who Make a Difference

photo (2)    Today is Veteran’s Day.  In 1918 in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an armistice was signed to end what we call World War One;  a deadly war where 53,402 Americans died and many thousands more survived the difficult conflict.  Today, I’m thinking of my dad, a Korean War veteran, and the other men and women who served their country with valor.   

   The son of Laura and Roy Carder from Altus Oklahoma, my dad was a handsome, tall, strong man who loved his family and his country.  He is not only my hero but he is an American hero.   In a small, simple house in Dumas, Texas hidden in the attic among Christmas decorations and all things usually stored away from view, was a small, tan colored suitcase.  Probably not opened in years, it held all the mementos of the short military career of my dad, Bob Carder.  The suitcase, covered in dust and the musty smell of being stored away for years was waiting to be discovered by a small, curious boy who loved finding hidden treasure.  Never in my wildest dreams would this young boy have know what treasure was waiting to be discovered.  You see, my dad never talked about his war experience.  I know now why so many combat veterans don’t want to talk about their experiences; many too gruesome to recall.  

   Opening the suitcase was like finding a pirates treasure.  Photos, items from Korea, and a small, black, rectangular leather box rimmed in gold leaf.  The black box didn’t seem too interesting so it was set aside while the photos and other items were looked over.  What a treasure!  My dad had been in Korea during the war.  He was a boss….a tank commander with men who looked up to him for courage to do battle.  I never knew…….then I picked up the box.  So simple yet it felt so good in my hands.  The clean, smooth leather cover smelled so good.  I knew this was something special yet it was supposed to remain hidden but I couldn’t put it down.  Slowly, I opened the black box.  Inside was a simple medal.  A bronze-colored 5-point star hanging from a red, white and blue ribbon.  The medal, about 15 years hidden from view, looked brand new.  Edges of ribbon were clean and perfect.  The 5-point star free from blemish… was perfect. 

   The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. When awarded for bravery, it is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and the ninth highest military award (including both combat and non-combat awards) in the order of precedence of U.S. military decorations.  My dad, an American hero, had been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for bravery in combat during a battle in the Korean War. 

   My dad, a farm boy from Oklahoma, is an American hero.  You see, just like my dad, there have been thousands of American heros you’ll never hear about but they have made a difference.  Here’s a test for you:  Name the five wealthiest people in the world; name the five last Heisman Trophy winners; name the five last Noble Peace Prize winners; name the last five best actor Academy Award winners; name the last five Super Bowl or World Series winners. 

   How did you do on the test?  Here’s the point, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday.  They are not second-rate achievers!  They are the best in their chosen profession, but eventually the applause dies and the fans go away; awards tarnish and glory fades.  Achievements are fogotten, accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.  What counts is the difference you make in the lives of those around you. 

   My dad made a difference that day when he saved the lives of those in his command.  Because of my dad, those guys were able to come home, get married, have kids and make a difference of their own.  Somewhere in this country there are people living good lives because my dad made a difference during the battle.  He continues to this day making a difference.  A long teaching career well over, yet there are men and women living good lives because he made a difference.  A church and community doing well because he made a difference.  A family doing well because he made a difference.  As you battle today, are you making a difference?   

   Here’s another test for you:  Name five teachers who helped in your journey through school; name three friends who helped you through a life storm; name five people who have taught you something worthwhile; list those people who have made you feel appreciated and special; name five people you call when trouble comes. 

    Here’s the lesson:  The people who make a difference in your life are NOT the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards.  They are the ones who care.  So, to my dad, Bob Carder, an American Hero, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a man who has made a difference!

Be encouraged my friends,


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Old Friend on November 12, 2009 at 1:39 am

    What a lovely post, Randy! Thanks for pointing out the obvious, honoring your dad, and also bringing tears to my eyes. The sacrifices of so many are sometimes overlooked, but you are adding to the voices of those know that caring makes our world richer and able to carry on. Here’s to your dad, Bob Carder! Thanks, Bob, for all you’ve done and do each day.


  2. Posted by Rick Wigginton on November 12, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Very nice story, Randy… May God bless your dad- a true american hero, and protect him now in his hour of need.


  3. Posted by Kathy Linnville on June 18, 2010 at 12:30 am

    That’s awesome Randy. Far too often we fail to say the words, to appreciate the people in our lives that sacrificed not only for their family, but for their country. Very precious post..thanks for sharing!!


  4. Posted by cheryl McWilliams on December 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Randy, I had no idea Bob had been awarded the bronze star, but he was a hero to all of us.


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