That’s right, your amazing feet. They are marvelous body parts that we give too little credit and probably too little attention to. And yet without them, we would have no support or balance.
I was reminded of their immense value last night when I got home from work after spending 12 hours in my black, (very stylish, of course… ha ha ) “combat boots”. Seriously, from 7:45 AM to 7:45 PM I wore them. AND, while at work from 1:00-6:00 PM, I was literally on my feet the whole time. No sitting, only walking, and standing.
When I walked in the door after work, I couldn’t get my poor size 8’s free fast enough. Ahhh, relief! What ever was I thinking when I left in the morning, or was I even thinking at all?
Well, that night, I thought alot about feet and their overlooked importance to us. (as mine were throbbing severely)
Lets talk about feet, shall we? Do you realize jus’ how amazing they are built and what they endure for us?
Did you know that:
You have 8,000 nerves in your feet, more per square centimeter than anyplace else in your body
Your daily walking cause your feet to experience forces totaling tons, actually equaling a fully loaded cement truck
Each foot takes 1.5 times your body weight
And when you run, up to 5 times your weight
There are 28 bones in your feet, a quarter of all the bones in your body!
You have 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons in your feet
there are 250,000 sweat glands in your feet that are capable of making a half pint of sweat a day
Your feet are AMAZING! Their design is a masterpiece able to withstand and adapt to uneven surfaces. Able to flex and twist and carry you wherever you choose to go.
These finely tuned pieces of machinery have two important functions:
Both of which require stability during your walk, run, jumping, balancing, climbing or any number of other activities that you do. Without your feet, your life would have no support or balance.
By the time you are 50 years old, the average person will have walked 75,000 miles and sustained sprains, strains and possible fractures. But your feet got the job done for you. One stat even said that if you walk 8-10,000 steps a day, that makes 115,000 in a lifetime; or equal to 4 times circling the globe.
And the hero is – YOUR FEET.
Add to these astounding facts that the bones in your feet don’t actually harden until your 21, and that these natural shock absorbers grow totally new toenails every 6 months, (slower than fingernails, which grow .01mm a day) and I think that we have established the fact the you have amazing feet.
Our feet stand us up.
So the next time you’re wondering if you can take a stand, or feel like you are lacking the support that you need – consider your wonderful feet. You are standing, and you do have support!
When you are evaluating your life and wondering if things are in the right balance for you – consider your feet.
Our dependable feet- constant for support and balance, our unsung hero’s for allowing us to stand up.
This is a familiar quote from around 60 AD by an imprisoned Roman citizen.
Consider. After you have “done everything”, don’t you want to just sit? Rest. Cool off. Check out for a bit? Unplug? Disengage? You’re pooped and are not feeling like standing.
Hey, when I was teaching, on my feet all day, doing everything, guess what I wanted to do and did when I got home? Not stand.
Now, when I work, mostly short shifts of 3-5 hours on my feet, having done everything, I still want to sit not stand afterwards. What about you?
But these 3 images came to mind today and with them, our title phrase – after you have done everything, stand.
The first image – A Sentinel Tomb Guard; standing guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, VA.
The second, the brave men of the 28th Regiment, 5th Marine Division, US Marines, who on Feb. 23, 1945 captured the extinct volcano, Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.
The third picture, a WW2 Veteran, who from a wheel chair and a long life of sacrifice, paid honor and tribute during a patriotic parade.
These men demonstrate what it means “after having done everything – stand.” Allow me to explain.
The Tomb Guard, a member of the 3rd Regiment (Old Guard) US Army, volunteers for this assignment and gives him or herself to the strict training that goes with it. After basic qualifications with personal records, financials and family, if accepted, they begin training.
This training is harsh, beginning with 2 weeks of basic instruction, uniform prep, walk sequence and behavioral assessments. Then they are tested. This test is the first of four that they must pass during their entire training period. If they do pass, they will spend the next 7-8 months in 12 hour duty days with homework galore. They are not allowed any TV, may not even acknowledge jokes while in quarters, may not acknowledge the public, and are not allowed even to speak to another guard unless spoken to.
During this period they are prepped and tested on three more occasions in these areas:
Uniform – they are allowed 2 minor infractions, no major infractions, and all items never more than 1/64 inch out of place. Imagine, they must pass a 100% inspection, where 97% is failing! There has never been a 100%.
Knowledge – they must memorize a 17 page packet with info on Arlington Cemetery and write it out, including punctuation. Passing the test with no more than 10 mistakes. If you miss a comma on 2 pages, that is a double fail.
Performance – On a 200 point inspection you are allowed no major infractions, 2 minor infractions. This includes performance on foot placement on the mat and cadence while walking the mat. They aim for a 72 beat per minute cadence.
There is a 10% completion rate of passing these 4 tests. Guards who fail the last test, may test again. If you fail again, you are released. You can come back but must start from the beginning. If you pass, you are a Fully Qualified Sentinel and earn the Tomb Guard Identification Badge, which is sterling silver and worn over the right, breast pocket.
While on the 24 hour duty then, every changing of the guard is evaluated and any infractions result in being released. So these highly regarded Sentinels are always doing everything to stand.
The standards for revoking their badge are the only ones in the military that are based on personal conduct. Any felonies or DUI’s means their badge is taken away and their name is stricken from the esteemed record.
These men and women, have truly done all, and their goal is to be standing in the end! If they are not standing in the end, their work has been in vain. In fact, that’s when their training comes fully into play. Standing in the end is the point of their training.
When the 4th and 5th Marine Division invaded Iwo Jima on Feb. 19, 1945 their goal was to secure the island as an important airbase for fighter escorts and emergency landings between Japan and the US bases in the Mariana Islands. Their 36 day assault on this “Sulfur Island” of the extinct volcano Mount Suribachi, was a deadly one in which we lost 7,000 Marines and another 20,000 were wounded.
These Marines reached the base of the volcano on Feb. 21 and by nightfall the next day they had surrounded the mountain. On 2/23, by 10:30 AM they had reached the top and raised a small, American flag. Later that afternoon, 5 Marines, and a Navy Corpsman returned to raise a larger, visible American flag.
This image of that second flag raising was sent back to America and along with that flag raising, so too rose the spirits of Americans and brave warriors in each of the theatres of war.
Perhaps you’ve seen movies or read stories of the bravery displayed on that airstrip. Admiral Nimitz, famously immortalized it this way,
“Among the Americans who served on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
Pacific Fleet, Commander in Chief Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
That very image became the template for the world’s largest, bronze statue – the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, VA, AKA the Marine Corps Memorial. It’s 32 foot high figures, raising the 60 foot flag stands to remind us all of the bravery demonstrated by those Marines in that battle, who did all they possibly could to stand at the end of that battle and raise that beautiful American flag.
Lastly, that WW2 Vet, a member of The Greatest Generation, after having served, lived, fought demons in country and his own personal demons at home, after everything he had been through he chose to stand, again.
With every excuse to sit, and stay down and given every exception by others to sit, he was driven by all that was within him, by all he had been through, by all that mattered to him, and by all he had fought to preserve to STAND. He had done all and now he would stand.
The training, the battle, the long fight… what is it for if not for us to stand in the end?
After we have done all, it is time to stand; maintain our position, hold down the victories, show off our training and execute the strategic plan and purpose bred into our fiber. It’s not time to sit, hold back, give up, or rest.
If you have done everything you know to do, up to this point- then it is time for you to stand your ground.