By Pfc. Lim Hong-seo (IMCOM) and Pfc. Jung Ji-hoon (IMCOM)April 16, 2013
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- In commemoration of Spiritual Resilience week, Yongsan hosted many events with a special guest, retired Maj. Gen. Robert F. Dees, former commander of Second Infantry Division, to promote spiritual strength among service members, civilians and families.
Following his retirement in 2003, Dees served in business and non-profit ministry to the military. Today, he is the associate vice president for Military Outreach and director of the Institute for Military Resilience at Liberty University. He is also author of three books, Resilient Warriors, the Resilient Warriors Advanced Study Guide, and Resilient Leaders, which was just published.
Dees was invited to be the keynote speaker at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast at Yongsan Garrison. Hundreds of people from both the Republic of Korea and the United States attended and prayed for service members, civilians and families stationed in Korea. Dees also asked for prayers for the security of the Korean Peninsula, and several chaplains in attendance led the prayers. During his inspiring speech, Dees pointed out the importance of readiness and resilience.
"In an important time like this, we don't have to fear anything because God is encouraging us and strengthening us. He gives strength and confidence for every challenge of the day to include today on the peninsula, during the challenges with North Korea," Dees said. "When I think about readiness, I think readiness never takes a day off on the freedom frontier. And when I think about resilience, I recognize that the Korean nation is a role model of resilience for the world. They know how you rose from the ashes from the Korean War and now you are one of the most prosperous nations in the whole world. That is an incredible statement about resilience. So resilience is important for individuals and also to nations."
During his comments, Gen. Kwon Oh Sung, deputy commander for Combined Forces Command showed his appreciation and respect to Dees.
"Looking at all the civic leaders, USFK leaders and service members, God will be very happy to see us all gathered here today," Kwon said. "Through General Dees' speech, I was able to understand how much he loves Korea and how much he loves God. Although today was the first time I actually met with General Dees, I was able to feel your love toward our country and how much you are proud yourself for serving in this land. I was impressed by your words that we need a great faith for freedom. I think these times are the times when we need to be very strong in our faith to God and try to continue our prayers."
Gen. James D. Thurman, commander for United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and U.S. Forces Korea, also thanked Dees for his inspiring keynote address and maintained that everyone must be spiritually fit when facing challenges.
"I want to thank Major General Bob Dees. He has been a friend of mine for many years, and I want to thank you for coming back over here to share these great thoughts that talk about resilience," Thurman said. "What I have learned in my 38 years (as a Soldier) is that you are going to be dealt with many challenges. You have to have spiritual fitness. And that is not every now and then, it is all the time."
Later that day, the Leadership Luncheon for military spouses, one of the key events of Spiritual Resilience Week, took place at Hartell House. Dees also served as guest speaker during that gathering.
"It is you ladies who make lemonade out of lemons," Dees said, after everyone finished with their meal. "We all know the devotion and sincerity you have been showing toward our community. We are facing one of the darkest times in the Korean peninsula, and help from you all is crucial. So basically, I am here to thank our merchants of hope, which are you."
Besides recognizing the military spouses for their support, Dees also spoke about what resiliency is and how it should be adopted into families.
"Resiliency is not a high-flown concept that requires professional study in order to be applied into daily life. Instead, it is a skill of life, learnt by experience, which teaches how to bounce up when you face a body slam," Dees said. "When you throw an egg to the ground, it cracks. However, when you do the same thing with a tennis ball, it will pop up again. Teaching resiliency is about letting your kid know how to be a tennis ball."
For the last destination in his busy day, Dees moved to South Post Chapel to participate in the Spirit Warrior Men's Conference. Referring to how warriors fight, fall and get back on their feet in everyday life, he again highlighted the meaning and importance of spiritual resilience.
"There is a word that God gave me as a mathematical equation: Fear plus faith equal courage. Through faith, God gave us the ability to overcome fear," Dees said. "We are all warriors. It is not because we are wearing military uniforms, it is because we are at war in our everyday life. And what happens to warriors when you go to war, you fight. When you go to war, you get wounded. Some of the wounds you can see, some you can't see. But then there is resilience, warriors bounce back. They bounce back to fight again."