Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I am in Northern Wisconsin on my annual deer hunting trip. A tradition I have maintained for almost 30 years of hunting in the same area with the same group of guys. Some have had sons come in at 12 years old and have graduated from college now. It is something I treasure every year because it is like old home week for me. I grew up with this group of men and treasure my ability to maintain this tradition.

The traditions of Thanksgiving are to reflect back and say thanks for our many blessings. While in my tree stand, and trying to take a break from work and the MN Patriot Guard, I have had time to reflect in the quiet of the woods.

I am very thankful for my family. My children and grand daughter are the things in life I am most proud of. We have overcome some adversities and are all healthy and working. I love you Rebecca, Elizabeth, and Hannah.

My friends from the past such as this week always have a special place in my heart. We also have had to overcome some adversities but we hung in there and grew up together.

I am thankful for my job and employer. While these are challenging times for us all, working and unemployed alike, our abilities and creativity have kept this the best country in the world for manufacturing and technology excellence.

I am thankful and blessed to be protected by the best military forces in the history of the world. From fighting for our own independence in 1776 to fighting for the freedoms of the Iraqi and Afghani citizens our brave men and women are the best military forces ever. No exception.

I am very thankful and grateful for the opportunity I have to be in this great organization called the MN Patriot Guard. I love this cause and I love all of you in this group. When I get older and look back on my life I will have these last few (and future) years to look back on and know I was part of something great. Thank you all for this opportunity. You have all made me a better person.

As we move into the Christmas season I’d like to use an analogy of the gifts we give and receive. Inside the wrapping paper is a gift that someone put time and thought into buying or preparing. The thoughts inside lets us know how valuable we are to them and that they care. The wrapping paper, bow, and ribbons are pretty and draw our eyes to it.

Our mission is much like that.

As we exit riding season in Minnesota and our missions involve only the flag line I am reminded that our escorts and other things we do are the wrapping paper. The flag line, where we start and end our missions, is the gift inside the box. What ever else we do maybe add to the experience of the mission but it is not what we are there for. The personal contact of nodding to the family member waving to you on the way out, shaking your hand on the flag line, or your private thoughts while standing there holding the flag are what really matter.

We urge our children and family members to go back and remember what Christmas is all about. It is about caring and loving. Not the wrapping paper or the box. Let us remember that as we move to the non-riding season. How we get there isn’t nearly as important as being there. Our gift and expression of love and caring are us standing on a flag line. Let’s remember that throughout the year to because any or all of us can be distracted by the wrapping paper.

I hope to see many of you over the next month to thank you for what you have done, are doing, and will do to show our grieving families and military members and families that their sacrifice is remembered and honored.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!