Greetings Leaders!

I am not a scholar or a historian, although our past has always drawn me to it. Why? Because, as mankind moves forward into the future, it is the only yardstick we have to measure our progress against. As an American, I know that I am truly blessed. I live in a time of unsurpassed comfort and luxury. Yes, we have challenges, but what is new. Since man first walked the earth, we have had to overcome whatever life threw at us. There has always been poverty, natural disasters, illnesses and death. Resources have always been scarce, criminal activity and greed have always needed to be controlled.

I wonder, if we are living in a time that will be labeled an exception to history, or if man is truly learning to live together in harmony. My heart would like to believe that we are maturing, but my mind tells me otherwise. Yet – there is always hope. As long as there are those of us left who hope for a better future, where we can all live together in peace and harmony.

Happiness. Peace. Harmony. I suppose that is what we all want. We just differ in our approaches to get there. Some believe in big government, others in letting people govern themselves. There are those who think that they have THE answer and impose this answer on others. Some believe in capitalism, others in socialism or communism. There are republics and democracies, pacifists and militants. For the most part we all want the same thing. That is why I love the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

We all want happiness. The question is… how do we get there. Having served as a Naval Flight Officer in the US Navy for 20 years, I can appreciate the cost of our independence. Perhaps not as much as many who have given the ultimate sacrifice, or those who were maimed or wounded protecting us, or the families who were left behind to try to make sense of it all. But, I do appreciate the cost, and want to personally thank those that protect us.

For those that are trying to make sense of these sacrifices, I don’t want to patronize you or give you the same pat answers. All I can really say, is that those who have sacrificed for us had a higher calling. They weren’t fighting for their country, they were fighting for an ideal. They believed that we had freedom and independence worth fighting for. The same ideals that drove our country to declare our independence.

As we try to make sense of the world around us, I want to encourage everyone to Live a Life of Excellence, in honor of those that sacrificed much in order to ensure that we have the freedoms we have today. Instead of mourning or trying to make sense of it all,  just celebrate by using your gifts. Use your gifts to help better the life of just one person. Just one.

You can drop off some food to a food bank, visit a retirement home. If you have a lot of money, perhaps you can help those who are not so fortunate. If you’re an artist… draw, paint, act, sculpt. If you are great at academics you can tutor a child. In the medical field? Contribute some time to a free clinic. A lawyer? How about drafting free wills once a month. An encourager? Man the phones at the nearest suicide or pregnancy hotline. There are so many ways to share your gifts. If you don’t have time… do you have time to help just one. Just one. Think about it. If a billion people helped just one person, just one, we would have a billion people who are better off tomorrow, than they were yesterday.

For those of you who don’t think you have a gift (but you really do!), just call someone and tell them you love them. When was the last time, you stopped to make the world a better place?

My point – don’t just say thanks. Celebrate your freedom, your independence… by showing thanks. We cannot control the destiny of the world, but we can control what we do on a day to day basis. Show kindness. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Contribute to a better future.

Live A Life Of Excellence!

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