Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Spoiled Sons and Daughters

In our land of milk and honey many still have a tough time just getting by. We also have a large number of spoiled sons and daughters.  I do not exclude myself.  Here's a recent example:

The parents of a young sergeant killed in action in Afghanistan were escorting his body home for burial. As the plane carrying the soldier's body pulled up to the ramp, the pilot came on the intercom asking passengers to remain in their seats for a moment while his casket was given over to an honor guard. Passengers in the first class section started booing at the delay.
What does this say about this group of Americans who could not take a few minutes to honor this youngster, one of our very own?

Serving in the armed forces is an honor. Perhaps one that is best seen in the rear mirror now that we do not have to get up at dawn to perform onerous tasks, let alone where some risk their very lives. Male military veterans make up 25% of our population, females 2%, including my prized daughter-in-law, Angelee, a Desert Storm Army veteran. Military service teaches many skills including leadership and team-building that directly translate to success in civilian life. Perhaps the greatest benefit of all is removing self-centered focus and replacing it with service to others.

This concept of service beyond self can be a huge factor at any time, but in this era where so many of us are divided it can be a godsend. I know individuals who devote a lot of time and effort to assisting those in need.  I'm sure you do too.  Peter Cognetti is one such.  A successful medical doctor, Peter continues to travel to Haiti to minister to those whom nature has delivered one body blow after another. Grim business indeed to those of us used to the good life. Yet in his case, and repeatedly in the experience of others helping others, he finds an overwhelming sense of fulfillment by doing God's work. The physical exhaustion and financial sacrifice just don't register on his radar.

This great country of ours was built on the blood, sweat and countless tears shed by good men and women who went before us, those who strive today and those who will follow long after we are gone. The common bond is a commitment to not let the other guy down. This is the real reason why we are and always will be the Great United States of America.

Monday, November 14, 2016


“IT AIN'T OVER Until it's over” - an evergreen bit of advice from the late and baseball great Yogi Berra. The turmoil that marked the 2016 election isn't over by any means. 

Some people will disagree on anything, or everything. Still it's smart money to have a reality check on our emotions, particularly when the issues are big ones. The people have voted so we are in for a change. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus spoke the immortal line “the only thing that is constant is change” a long time ago, way before Yogi. Unlike Berra, he never played baseball but he too had this knack for delivering memorable quotes. Time for all hands to face reality. Donald Trump won the election.  In short time he will be in the Oval Office as our president. There is no wiggle room. He is my president and yours.

This brings to mind the story of when Bill Clinton moved into that Oval office in 1993. He found a handwritten note waiting for him from its prior occupant, George H. W. Bush. It was simple, and profound: “Dear Bill: You will be our president when you read this note.  I wish you well. I wish your family well.  Your success is our country's success. I am rooting for you.  /George.”

Those sentiments from one American to another American pretty well sum up my own position.

Your success is our country's success, Donald Trump.

Now, I too am rooting for you.