By Steve Arel, U.S. Army Cadet CommandAugust 30, 2011
FORT KNOX, Ky. -- They came together Tuesday morning for a different type of workout, people from across the post gathering for a healthy session of spiritual exercise.
The 80 or so people -- most of them members of U.S. Army Cadet Command -- attending the Cadet Command Spiritual Fitness Breakfast at the Leaders Club were applauded for the impact they have in developing the Army's future leaders and were challenged to keep positively affecting the lives of others.
The event's intent was to create an opportunity for those in the Fort Knox community to come together, to eat together and, of course, to pray together, said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Swift II, senior chaplain assistant for Cadet Command. It was a time, too, to "allow the spirit of God to flow," as command Chaplain (Maj.) Rickey Brunson put it.
Sandwiched between spiritual messages was a bountiful breakfast and music by Christy Todd, wife of deputy Cadet Command Chaplain (Maj.) Kelvin Todd, and a brass quartette from the 113th Army Band. Cadet Command members also delivered prayers for the nation's leaders and for its future leaders, specifically Army ROTC Cadets.
People know all about physical and mental fitness, but oftentimes forget about spiritual fitness, the third leg of the fitness stool, said Col. Peggy Combs, Cadet Command's deputy commanding officer. Tuesday was a chance for those in attendance to feed the soul, she said.
As the breakfast's guest speaker, Chaplain (Col.) Kenneth Stice, chief chaplain for the Training and Doctrine Command, urged people to routinely consider the impact they have on others and to strive to make a positive difference in their lives.
Highlighting the capture of two American women by the Taliban just before Sept. 11, 2001, Stice spoke of the four factors that helped keep the women physically, mentally and spiritually resilient throughout their detainment -- factors people can employ every day to enrich their lives and the lives of those around them. They were preparation, singing (singing helps evoke different ideas and provides a different level of communication, Stice said), serving others and praying (being honest with God).
Standing at a podium flanked by the U.S., Army and Cadet Command colors, Stice turned to the Army flag and pointed out the collection of streamers hanging from a ring near the top of its staff. When the flag is posted, the first (Battle of Lexington 1775) and last (Iraqi Governance) streamers earned are supposed to be displayed front and center.
But between them is history, an extensive history not everyone knows. Each person has a personal history, too, one that isn't often known to those around them, Stice said.
That's why it's important, especially as the nation has experienced nearly a decade of persistent conflict, to consider what others have experienced, even if it isn't evident, he said.
"We don't know all about each other," Stice said. "We can do things that make a difference in other people's lives."
He encouraged those in attendance to be active, inside and outside the workplace, physically and socially.
"We can all do those things," he said. "The question is: Will we do those things? … God stands by to make a difference in everyone's lives."