Lt. Michael P. Murphy (USN) is remembered each Memorial Day, along with thousands of other men and women who gave their lives for the freedom we all enjoy every day. A Navy Seal, Lt. Murphy left a legacy of bravery during his service to our country on foreign soil where he put his life on the line for his comrades, as depicted in the movie Lone Survivor. “Murph” earned several commendations, including the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, and the Medal of Honor.
Lt. Murphy was killed in action in 2005 during an operation in Afghanistan, as part of a four-man SEAL team, after his team was compromised and surrounded by Taliban forces near Asadabad, Afghanistan.
Murphy lived by the creed he learned in SEAL training: Never give up. Whatever the circumstances, never give up. However large the obstacles, never give up. Navy SEAL training embodies this attitude from beginning to end. Those who cannot endure are encouraged to “ring the bell” in the center of the training compound and leave. It’s a small band of brothers that make it to the end.
A few years ago, Admiral William H. McRaven, a Navy SEAL for over 37 years, inspired graduating students at the University of Texas at Austin, his alma mater, with this same mindset. Admiral McRaven spoke of changing the world and how Navy SEALs are specifically trained to never give up. At the end of his commencement address, McRaven summed up his challenge to students:
Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell. A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see. All you have to do to quit is ring the bell.
Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims. Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT — and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training. Just ring the bell.
If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.
Start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often. But if take you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up — if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today.
Lt. Murphy has also become an inspiration to thousands of non-military men and women across the country for his devotion to CrossFit training. His workout of the day (WOD) has been memorialized as a “Hero WOD” and practiced at hundreds of CrossFit facilities around the U.S. The workout consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and a final 1 mile run, all completed in under an hour wearing a 20-lb pack, which he called “body armor.” And on Memorial Day, the Murph WOD is a celebration of his strength, training, and determination to never give up.
This past Monday, in celebration of Memorial Day, we witnessed the Murph WOD completed by CrossFit coaches at CrossFit Luna in Dallas, Texas. Beginning at 7:30 am, nine coaches put on their 20-lb packs and started the clock, each one pushing themselves to complete the routine in under an hour.
One of those coaches to complete the Murph WOD is our son, Lawrence Ford, Jr. The determination we saw in him and his fellow coaches was awe inspiring.
And while completing the routine as individuals, they constantly encouraged one another to keep going. There was no audience, except us. They did not do this as a competition or for a crowd. This was for them to finish for themselves, and to honor Lt. Murphy for his determination to never give up, for which he paid the ultimate price.
Regardless of what we do in our careers, may it be said of each of us that we pushed forward, respected our colleagues, completed our duties, and never gave up. If you’re in a career path that’s holding you back, look for opportunities to overcome those obstacles or find a path that will encourage you to give your all and change the world.