Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf left a legacy of quiet service that many of us should learn to copy.
Schwarzkopf died Dec. 27 at the age of 78.
Schwarzkopf was a hero. He will be remembered best as the commander of the United States-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991.
Schwarzkopf was introduced to the masses during nearly daily media briefings throughout the campaign. He was part of the decision to halt hostilities when it was the humane thing to end the rout of Saddam’s forces. He was in charge of one of the most successful military campaigns in our nation’s history.
And yet, he kept a very low public profile after the first Gulf War ended.
He did not choose public life though he was asked to run for office after the first Gulf War. He pretty much kept out of the limelight until he retired. He did not seek to capitalize on his moment in the sun.
As a nation, we too easily choose celebrity over substance.
We too quickly assume an athlete’s accomplishments say something about his or her character.
Schwarzkopf was different. He did his job.
He served his country — quietly.
There are not enough people — given a podium or a spotlight — willing to serve without fanfare. In the social media age of “hey, look at me,” Schwarzkopf taught us what unassuming heroes can achieve.
— Distributed by The Associated Press