Are You Part Of The Solution Or Problem?

military at xmas time

While the holiday season is a happy one I’m always reminded of our active military who are spending time away from their loved ones to protect us and how little effort it takes to brighten their day.Have you ever been at the airport when all of a sudden you look up to see a group of enlisted men and women who have joined the Marines, Army, Air Force, Navy in their camoflauge uniforms? Do you ever wonder where they’re going? What small town/big city they’re from? Do they have children or spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends who are missing them? Will they all make it home to their loved ones? I know I do and then I ask myself what can I do to make their day a little brighter?

So here’s my challenge to you, the next time you’re sitting there waiting for your plane, sipping on an overpriced cup of coffee  round some of them up, march them to the nearest coffee concession and buy them each a cup of coffee. I guarantee you’ll go straight to the front of the line. You might say you don’t have the money and that’s fair, then at least do it for one, but just do something.

Me? I’m heading over to Oceanside this morning to go to The Breakfast Club, sit at the bar & enjoy some coffee & the first group of Marines that come through is going to get their meal paid for. I never make a big deal out of it, I’m not doing it for the accolades, I’m doing it because I appreciate what they do everyday for us.

farmers insurance open banners
I just received 20 upgraded passes to the upcoming 2013 Farmers Insurance Open which is being held January 21st – 27th at Torrey Pines in La Jolla. I don’t need 20 passes that include private seating on the 15th green at the new Tilted Kilt Tartan Terrace  so I’ve decided to give at least half of them to some Marines who enjoy golf and would enjoy watching one of golf’s premier events at no cost other than their food and drinks. Not a big deal to you and I but to them it will be a day that they won’t soon forget.

It’s not easy being away from your family and when you’re the age of some of these kids it’s probably the first time any of them have been without Mom’s home cooking, sleeping in a real bed, and and away from their childhood friends.

Now they’re on their way to a country most of them couldn’t spell before they got their deployment and they’re scared. I know they’re scared because I’ve asked them. A little constructive fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing for their upcoming trip, it keeps them aware of what their mission is.

Most of them will be back here within 6 months to a year, but they will have seen things no young person should ever have to witness. They will have changed, but at least they’re back here at home. Some of their buddies aren’t going to be so lucky.Our country, while the greatest in the world is governed by lazy, over paid politicians who have forgotten where they come from and many of them aren’t in favor of giving these heroes fair compensation.

Remember, it doesn’t take much to make someone else’s day a little better. Instead of handing a few bucks to the panhandler on the corner, take an active duty person to lunch, at least then you know your money is doing something positive.This blog weas prompted by something I just read and it angers and saddens me at the same time that these are the people who are making decisions for our servicemen and women.

Cindy Williams was appointed by President Obama  As an Assistant Director for National Security in the Congressional Budget Office.

She wrote a piece for the Washington Times denouncing the pay raise(s) coming service members’ way this year citing that she stated a 13% wage increase was more than they deserve. See this link for 2013 Military Pay Scale Chart for the Army, Navy, Air Force & Marines

http://www.militaryfactory.com/military_pay_scale.asp

It’s always fun to help someone else and it always makes me forget about what’s going on in my life.

Happy 2013

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Why Do We Say “Happy” on Memorial Day?

                 
Despite all the problems we have here in the U.S.A. Its remains the greatest country to live in. The multiple freedoms that we enjoy came at a heavy cost, the lives of those who chose to fight for our country.

To all the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force members who paid the ultimate price I owe a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to re-pay. To the 58,000 plus who gave their life in Vietnam for a war that we had no business being involved in, thank you. Thank you for going even though you were treated like an alien  upon your return to an ungrateful country.

Today you can see the enormity of all those lives by visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. It’s a humbling experience.

Iraq and Afghanistan have added thousands more to that toll with most of them in the 18 – 24 years old range. That’s too many lost sons & daughters, brothers & sisters, fathers & mothers, nieces & nephews, & grand children in the prime of their life.

I live near Camp Pendleton, the busiest military base in America and I see these kids everyday ready to pay that price. Kids from small towns to large cities, who would rather be hanging with their friends back in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New York, California & any other state in the U.S. but made the decision to keep us free another day, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Don’t think they’re not afraid, they are, but they also believe in keeping a commitment they made to their friends, family & country.

I don’t have an answer for the Happy Memorial Day greeting but I do believe that it shouldn’t be “Happy” when we honoring those who have lost their life.

So instead of getting wasted on Memorial Day do something for these kids.

 Even if it’s a simple “thank you for your service.”

SEMPER FI

Gratitude

 

A few days ago I sent out a LinkedIn poll question asking people what they were most grateful for. I received some interesting answers. One claimed gratitude for everything from their 2 cars in the garage to always having a fresh roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. Really? I’m hoping that the t.p. remark was said in humor because if it weren’t that would be downright sad.

Then there were the handful that as the reader I could feel their gratitude for everything from learning to walk all over again after an accident to a father being grateful that his son had beat death. I have sons and that one left me asking myself, “What would I do, how would I act if something happened to my boys?”

One kept resonating within me. The responder was just grateful to be alive for the past five years after a life threatening bout with cancer.

Gratitude is just the opposite of having a bad attitude about what you didn’t get versus being happy with what you do have.

I’m grateful to be a good father
I’m grateful to have a good relationship with their Mother
I’m grateful for my health. I look around and see people who are my age who aren’t doing well.
I’m grateful that I can give something back to my community by being involved with the Wounded Warrior Project & we’re also starting another Foundation for Children of which I’ve been asked to be on the Board of Directors.
I’m grateful to the Marines at Camp Pendleton who have made an impact on my life and I theirs.
I’m grateful that I have friends in this world that I can talk to and they can talk to me about what’s going on in their lives.
I’m grateful that I quit drinking 23 years ago. The best part of not drinking is that I’m present for my life, good or bad.
I’m grateful that I can have compassion for others.

I guess I could have a bad attitude about not having a job, but that would prevent me from trying to find gainful employment to take even better care of my sons.
I could use a new car, but mine is just fine. I bought my SUV the day after my first son was born because I didn’t want my son driving around in a small sports car.
There’s lots of things I would like to have but their just wants and not needs.

The bottom line is we’ve all got one shot here on this good Earth (I think) and we should make the best of it. Enjoy the ride because most of the time it’s an “E” Ticket Ride and remember that when things get tough you’re never going to get more than you can handle and I know that to be true.

I love this quote from William Arthur Ward, author of Fountains of Faith
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays, spend time with those that you care the most about and share your gratitude with those who need it.

Happy Holidays