As we pause to celebrate Independence Day this month, let’s ensure we focus on the right things. Over time, 4th of July celebrations have become all about BBQ and festivities, without really thinking about what it means to be free. Freedom isn’t free, and someone is always paying the price. Let’s remember that this Independence Day.
Sarah and I have had the experience of being with folks who weren’t always free. We were there in the Fulda Gap in Germany when the Warsaw Pact crumbled in 1989 and the East Germans experienced freedom for the first time. I was there in Kuwait during Desert Shield and Desert Storm when we liberated the Kuwait’s from the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein, and then in Iraq when we attempting to provide the Iraq people the opportunity to be free.
In each and every case, they cherished freedom because they knew what it was
I don’t understand why we as a Nation tend to stereotype groups based on the actions of individuals. A perfect example is what is going on now with our approach to law enforcement personnel. If some police officer does the wrong thing, we immediately assume that all police officers are suspect. That is just plain wrong.
In every group in our society there are some “bad apples”. Some folks will inevitably do the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. The law enforcement community is not immune to that (nor are politicians, athletes, educators, military, etc). People do stupid stuff.
What we shouldn’t do is label an entire group based on the actions of one individual. If an individual does something bad, focus on him. Take appropriate actions against him. Do not paint the entire group with the same paint brush that you paint that one individual.
Let’s stop labeling people. Stereotypes not
We all need help. We need strength, courage to do the things that need to be done on a daily basis. There are many sources for that strength and courage. I get mine from my relationship with God. In Joshua 1:9 it is written Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go
Knowing that God is with us wherever we go is an amazing source of strength. Many times throughout my military career I was tasked to perform something that was very dangerous, but I could do it without fear knowing that God would be with me.
During Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I was the Executive Officer of a Cavalry Regiment. We were stationed in Doha, Kuwait and were the last American presence in Kuwait. Everyone else had returned
I recently was the guest speaker at a high school graduation. In the 15 mins I had allocated, I wanted to give the graduates some insights as to how they could be successful in life. I left them with three ideas:
Live a life that God will reward. Be nice to folks. Follow the golden rule. Always demonstrate honesty and integrity in everything you do.
Do every job superbly. Always exceed expectations. Be the very best in everything you do. Grow everyday. Read, study, learn. Seek out opportunities to better yourself.
Be visible and widely known. Ensure your hard work is evident to those around you. Don’t brag, just let people know what you are doing. Be connected in life. Do not withdraw into a social media vacuum. Talk to people. Enjoy each other’s company.
Obviously there is more to being successful than just these three things, but I didn’t want to overwhelm
I continue to find myself worried about the future of our Nation. The current situation in Ferguson, Missouri and other parts of our country is of great concern. Unfortunately, there are elements in our society who want to emphasize divisiveness over diversity. They want to drive a wedge between us. I saw this in Iraq during my service there. Folks there committed specific acts of terror to inflame tension between the Iraqi Shias and Sunnis. We can’t allow that to happen here the United States of America
I argue continuously that families, communities and organizations should celebrate diversity. They must move beyond simple tolerance and truly embrace and celebrate diversity. If they do that, everyone will flourish. All indicators of success will dramatically improve. We will be exponentially more effective. The US Military is a case in point.
In 1948 President Truman issued an executive order that it was his policy
Sarah and I were with Gary Sinise last week as we presented a mortgage free home to GySgt (R) Guillermo Tejada (double amputee) as part of Gary Sinise Foundation / HEB activities. Such an inspiration to be around such a selfless servant as Gary, and a true American hero as
My favorite book is entitled A Life God Rewards, by Bruce Wilkinson. In the book the author contends that God really doesn’t care about how many stars you wear (in my case), or how much money you make….He cares about the number of people you touch.
I am convinced we would have a better Nation if everyone made it a point to serve others. Today, less that 1% of the American public serve our Nation in uniform, but we all enjoy the freedoms provided by those select few. That’s service.
Of note, you don’t have to be in the US Military to serve others. There are many professions (medical, education, law enforcement, clergy, etc) in which folks make a remarkable contribution to society, and they should also be commended. That’s service as well.
I tell folks in my public presentations that the most important piece of furniture in their homes is their
I am currently sitting on a beach in Port Aransas, TX with my wife Sarah, our son Lucas, his wife Erica, and our grandson JW (now 2 ½ years old).
Almost 30 years ago Sarah and I brought our son Lucas down to this very same beach. Yesterday as I watched Lucas expose his son JW to the wonders of the ocean, I flashed back to when I did the same thing to him 3 decades prior.
What he did with his son is what I did with mine. He held his hand very tightly as together they walked towards the ocean. You could tell that JW was unsure about what he was looking at. It was a lot larger than his bathtub or his Grandpa’s swimming pool. As JW’s feet first felt the ocean water, his eyes lit up with wonder. He reached down and grabbed a handful of sand
The other day, someone came up to me and wished me “Happy Memorial Day”. I don’t understand that. How can the day, where we pause and reflect on those who gave their lives in defense of our freedom, be happy? It’s like telling someone who recently lost a loved one “Have a happy funeral”.
We as a Nation take freedom for granted, because it is all we have ever known. Folks wake-up each day able to enjoy freedoms, but they came at a cost. Memorial Day is intended to be that day we as a Nation remember the cost. Since our founding fathers, over 665 thousand Americans have given their lives in defense of our freedoms.
Most recently over 6000 have died protecting our freedoms and our way of life in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, behind each of those fallen heroes is a Family that mourns the loss of their loved
Please take a few moments to watch my views on the Jade Helm controversy.
Click Here: Rick Lynch on Jade