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November 11, 2014

Today we salute veterans on Veteran’s Day.

I previously wrote about one of my favorite veterans, Phil Campbell, in The Second Half. I mentioned that Phil once gave me a graduation card that I never forgot because  it contained the Rudyard Kipling poem “If” – an inspired work describing the spirit of what it means to be a man.

As I once again salute “The Lieutenant” on Veteran’s Day, I wanted to share the text of that poem with you, as everyone should read and know this inspired work.  It will ever remind me of Phil, and inspire me about the work of life that I must undertake as a man.



by Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!


Today Phil attended the Veteran’s Day event at my son, Canyon’s, school.  No doubt Phil took the opportunity to guide Canyon, and his classmates and teachers, about the virtues and principles of life and service to one’s country.  He has such a wealth of experience and wisdom to share, and I imagine they will be richer in wisdom for having met Phil. At very least, as a father, I’m so glad to have Phil as an influence in my son’s life.



May God bless Phil, and all veterans, for their service to our country.  And may we ever remember and honor them for being the men and women of honor they are.


To read more of Rudyard Kipling’s work, go to


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