Purpose is the reason for which a thing is done or for which a thing exists. It is the reason for being. It can describe the motivation to fulfill a New Year’s resolution or the feeling of being determined to do something.
Purpose is what a person is trying to do–their aim or intent.
A purpose statement is a sentence, usually found in the introduction of a document or book, which declares the author’s intent for writing.
A purpose statement used by a corporation or military unit is called a mission statement. Every corps, division, brigade, and battalion in the United States Army has a mission statement. It outlines the unit’s purpose and how it supports the purpose of its higher command’s mission. The mission equals purpose.
Military leadership views accomplishing the mission as the main priority. For servicemen and women, the highest priority is to fulfill the mission AND protect their fellow warriors. For some soldiers, protecting their battle buddies is the only mission. This isn’t a fault, it’s just reality for boots on the ground. Fortunately, most of the time when that happens the mission is a success.
It would be natural to think that every war hero accomplished the mission–that those who receive medals for valor achieved their purpose on the battlefield. This is not always the case.
Former Marine Corps Corporal, Dakota Meyer, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions on September 8, 2009, during the Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan.
Though he help rescue three dozen Afghan soldiers from a deadly Taliban ambush, he considers that day the worst day in his life because he didn’t achieve his purpose of rescuing four fellow Marines.
Rather than remain at a relatively safe distance from the firefight at the patrol rally point, Meyer disobeyed orders and made five trips into the killing zone.
During the six-hour battle, he evacuated 12 of those pinned down, provided cover fire so another 24 could safely withdraw, and killed at least eight Taliban fighters. Yet, by the time he reached his fellow Marines they were dead.
Though he will tell you he is no hero, Meyer is one of two living Marines to be awarded the Medal of Honor in the last four decades. His unwavering courage, commitment, and compassion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflect great credit upon himself and our nation.
Purpose is what a person is trying to do–their aim or intent–and trying in the face of impossible odds makes one a hero.
Today, Dakota Meyer has a renewed life purpose as an inspiring author, entrepreneur, and podcaster.
Having a sense of purpose is more relevant now than ever in our divided nation. It can give us direction and add meaning to our lives.
* Petition: Dear Lord, help us to discover our life purpose for this time.