As I worked my way up and down the seemingly endless rows carrying out my assigned task, it wasn't the large monuments that resonated the most. It was the countless number of head stones that were marked simply "Unknown"; these individuals came to final rest here from every conflict dating from the War Between the States to our current time. While their individual identity was lost, and perhaps their specific roles along with it, in the Big Picture their lives contributed to our National Identity and earned them a place here.
As I paused briefly to rest under the shade of a large tree, I looked down and noticed the grave of an Unknown soldier or citizen whose barely visible marker was being reclaimed by time and the earth. The graves in this section dated mostly from the early 1860's, but this one did not even bear that most basic designation. I wondered Who they might be and How they came to this place; all I knew was that somehow it was What they were part of that ultimately brought them here.
The momentary, principled contributions of one person can merge together with those of others in most powerful ways to build a family, a neighborhood, a state, a business and ultimately a Nation. It is important to pause from time to time and honor those who came before us for what they sacrificed for us, and to respect those working alongside us, by offering our own best efforts. Do what you do because it matters to you and to those for whom you care.
Individual recognition isn't the point and by itself doesn't create value. Beginning each day with a simple "note to self" to make it count is a great way to focus on the work ahead; momentary reflection at day's end will enable you to assess your own contributions in real time.
Unknown does not mean Forgotten or diminish Value.