Youth or Freedom

I passed a parking lot today where a mom was buckling a baby into the back seat of her car while her four-year-old ran on the sidewalk and around the vehicle. The mother was telling the four-year-old to come back, that they had to go. The four-year-old just smiled and giggled and jumped up and down. This scene reminded me of a saying.

I believe the saying is something about youth being wasted on the young. There are days when I get out of bed with an aching back, and a dizzy head, and a full day’s worth of work I want to accomplish. And sometimes in those days I actually think of that saying.

After I have the moment of ‘woe is me,’ I have a tendency to come to my senses. I remember a report that I heard once that said one of the first words that a baby learns and uses is the word no. The reason is because babies and small children here ‘no’ more than any other word. They are so energetic and ready to go explore the world and yet have to be protected from so many things. No is said often and usually with good reason.

When we are more mature, we hear the word no less and less. That is because we have explored and understand many of the risks. It is also because, in the pecking order of our society, it is harder for a younger person to say ‘no’ to an older person and get away with it.

To make up for not receiving as many no’s, the more mature person ends up with more aches and pains. Between ‘no’ when we’re young and ‘ouch’ when we are more mature, it looks like nature balances itself. Although I truly believe that everything works out for the best.

As for me, I hear ‘no’ more from my wife than anyone else. She is cute and means well. But even her ‘no’ does not really stop me from my goals and adventures (please don’t tell her I said that.)

Thank you for being here today. I hope to be with you again soon.

 

 

Travel Always Gives a True Light

I find it is travel that renews our spirits. It allows us to learn new customs, meet new people, and see new sites. My wife and I were blessed to enjoy such a trip this last week. I thank you for your patience when I went into areas and actions where daily blogging would be hard to accomplish.

I traveled for hours through the desert enjoying the cool air and the snow which was still present in crevices and washes where the sun had not yet shined on it. I had initially been worried about the heat I remembered from being stationed in Del Rio, Texas. I was very grateful to the kind people of Arizona who arranged a little snow and temperatures in the ’30s for us.

Part of my trip took me to Douglas, Arizona where I attended my son’s wedding and welcomed a wonderful new son-in-law into the family. I was also very privileged to meet his wonderful extended family and enjoy their gracious company.

I will tell you more of the grand hotel we stayed in later. It was the technical wonder of its day when first built, and even today, as it is being restored to former glory, all of the history and narrative of the local area is still visible and felt within its walls.

I will have much more to tell you about in upcoming blogs. For now, I wish to thank the people of Douglas. While I was there, I went out and walked the town. I always felt safe in this border crossing town. And the people were very friendly. I saw nice small shops, and I ate delicious local cuisine.

The hype I see on TV about terrorists, drug smugglers, rapists, and other terrors, I have learned is made up TV hype. I have been there and what I see in this nice border town is a community where people are living and enjoying daily life.

I want to thank all those I met, and all those I had a chance to talk with. Because of all these interactions, I have grown and hopefully become a better person because I have new ways to look at things.  Travel always helps to see things in a true light.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Warning: Use Wisely

We each have freedom. We can enjoy as much freedom as we give ourselves permission to use. The question is not really who may take that freedom away, instead the real issue is how much of the available freedom do we allow ourselves to use?

If we do not allow ourselves to use what we have, it will wither and go away. Any freedom that is given and yet not used out of some fear or doubt is not genuinely free. Just remember, there is a difference between concern and responsibility.

Our freedoms do not extend to hurting others. Yelling fire in a crowded theater that causes a stampede and hurts others is wrong. No one has the right to take a life for fun or profit. And no one should purposely plan to do ill will to others.

The freedoms we enjoy are those freedoms that were earned and handed down by our forefathers to promote the common good. They also gave us a set of laws, commonly agree to, and lived by which uphold those freedoms. Most of these laws are still used and respected today.

Our freedoms stem from a group of colonies agreeing to work together and signing up to throw off the yoke of tyranny. And, banding together for the common good and inalienable rights of all. We need to remember this as we go forward. We need to enjoy our freedoms and protect them from those who abuse them. Because the surest way to lose anything is to abuse it.

Just something to think about from the mean old Master Sergeant.

Thanks for being with me today, I hope to be with you again soon.

The Next Hundred Years

In our everyday world, there is a lot of good out there. People reach out to help one another. Small things like a nod and a smile and large goals like teams from multiple countries coming together to find kids lost in a cave.

There is evil in the world also. Some people will insult others just to make themselves feel better. And some people will shoot one another, over ideology, fear, and misunderstanding, or just for sport.

This, though, has been true throughout the history of humanity. The Romans built great public works: aqueducts, roads, and fountains. And in Rome gangs of youth and even those in power would walk around at night and stab people for sport. It appears there’s good and evil in everyone. The only question is which, good or bad, will the individual focus on.

This week we celebrate an idea,  that all have certain unalienable rights. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When this nation started out with those ideals, the rest of the world looked at us as being the hippie commune who would not last 25 years. Much to their chagrin our small hippie commune of 13 states has grown to be the most powerful nation in the world.

The challenge lays in our next hundred years. Although democracies have a tendency to flourish, their life expectancy is usually only 250 years.

To beat this timeline, we need to look back to why we started this country in the first place. Then, we have to understand not what we needed yesterday, instead, that which is indispensable for tomorrow. Those are the items we need to build with the same zeal which was put into the Revolutionary War and our space race to the moon.

Have a good fourth and stay hydrated.

The Cost of Freedom

Good morning.

One of the things I got to do my last tour in the Air Force was to manage some special projects. One day when returning from an off-site meeting, I drove back to base with my commander in my immediate supervisor in the car.

As we approached the front gate to the base, there were comments in the car about the Tuesday protesters who were at the gate protesting. Like my dad, who was career Army, had always done, I gave a disparaging remark against the protesters. My commander, a full bird colonel who had spent most of his military life in Europe, faced off against the Iron Curtain, stopped me right there.

He told me that those protesters were doing a valuable thing. He explained to me they were proving that I had done my job well. He told me I had sworn an oath to defend the Constitution. And those protesters at the front gate proved that I had done my job well. He said it was the Constitution which allowed them to be there and voice their opinion in the first place.

I had to think about that, and I realized he was right. Every person who serves in the military takes an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States. The fact that the Bill of Rights lives and is used stands as an essential testament to the hard work and perseverance everyone in the military has given to this country.

It is important to note that the Bill of Rights is not a cafeteria type document. In other words, you cannot use the amendments you like and condemned the amendments you don’t want. If you want the second amendment on gun control, you have to accept the First Amendment on freedom of speech. If you want the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, you have to take all 10 amendments.

Why were those protesters so important, though? It falls to one other fundamental truth. Freedoms not used because of any fear, are never free. I am proud to have defended the Constitution of the United States, and I am thrilled to live in a free land.