Posts Tagged ‘Billy Graham’

“Courage is contagious.
When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
– Billy Graham

Today is Veteran’s Day. It is a day we have set aside from all other  days to honor those who have served in every branch of the United States Armed Forces. We should look forward to this day—not as simply another holiday or chance to save big at a “Veteran’s Day Sale”—but as an opportunity for thankfulness.

The proud service of our veterans shape the image of how we see ourselves as United States Citizens and the manner in which citizens of other countries interpret our place on the world stage. Their strength and courage inspires all of us to stand tall!

That we are not waking up this morning to the sounds of gunfire as rebels threaten our homes and families is a testament to the fortitude our nation exhibits through the courage and exemplary service of our Armed Forces. We owe so much to the little-seen efforts of these dedicated men and women in hostile countries, on ships at sea, or behind closed doors. They work far from the spotlight and the big stage, yet their actions are critical to the safety and well-being of all Americans.

As a nation we have an obligation to pause our daily routine to remember those who put their entire lives on hold to serve us—you and me, and our parents and our children, and their children. The sacrifices they made continue to influence the freedoms we enjoy, yet too often overlook. When it comes to men and women of the Armed Forces, let’s not forget their service and instead make it a habit to practice thankfulness on purpose.

Whatever you are, honor the sacrifice of those who have served!


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The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions,
but in the quality of our lives.

The greatest waste in all of our earth,
which cannot be recycled or reclaimed,
is our waste of the time God has given us each day.”

~ Billy Graham

Did you happen to catch the story about Chester Reed?  He retired last week as the nation’s oldest postal worker, ending a 37-year-old career without taking a single sick day.  He is 95 years old.

Reed’s story is intriguing.  Who sticks with something that long? What kind of person is able to show up day after day for 37 years — long after the time most people would have retired? He earned the right to kick back and enjoy life without the responsibility of daily employment thirty years ago.

Reed claims the secret to his success is finding a job that provides a steady income and where they don’t hassle you (Here! Here!); as well as a healthy diet of watermelon, alkaline water, and an onion sandwich with mayonnaise every day.

And while all of this is well and good, it was his response to a question about leaving a legacy that caught my attention:

Put your hand in a bucket of water,
put it in all the way to your wrist.

Take it out and the hole you leave
will be how much you’ll be missed.

I chuckled when I heard the news anchor relay Reed’s quote.  I had to agree.

The truth is, unless I discover a cure or establish a multi-million dollar foundation or break a record or change national policy, it’s doubtful I will be remembered much beyond the next generation.  It won’t be too far up the family tree before relatives look at a fading picture of me and say, “I think that was . . .” and perhaps my name will be recalled — but more than likely the memory of me, like my life, will have evaporated like a vapor.

Like a hole in water.

And while no one may miss the idea of my existence, I am hopeful that day-by-day I am able to shift the perception, inspire a life and start a chain reaction whereby the lives I touch, inspire the lives they touch for generations to come.

My name isn’t important. My life, such as it is, is quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things. However, I am convinced there is more to living than simply passing the time.  It’s about passing it on.

Whatever you are, I believe you can leave a legacy by impacting a life!


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The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission” [John F. Kennedy].

This past weekend our country observed Memorial Day. Unfortunately, “traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country” [Memorial Day History].

Yesterday, Greg and I biked the T. J. Evans Recreational Trail. We started in Johnstown, and traveled 10 miles through Alexandria, nearly to Granville, before retracing our route. The trail is heavily shaded, the weather was warm, and a nice breeze kept us comfortable. Although we encountered a number of people out enjoying the holiday, the two-hour excursion was peaceful and a perfect time for reflection of Memorial Day.

There are so many rights and freedoms we enjoy as American citizens, and, unfortunately, often take for granted: Freedom of religion, the right to free speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble and petition, the right to bear arms, freedom against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to vote (just to name a few).

Too often we live our lives, never pausing to realize how incredibly blessed we are. These rights we enjoy are not common to people everywhere. How many other countries believe that man has an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

The freedoms we enjoy came at great cost. “Freedom is not free. Never has been. Never will be” [Gary Keesee]. It is important that we honor the sacrifices that have been made for you and I to live in this “land of opportunity.” We must never neglect to recall the courageous men and women who have given their lives so that we might live our lives in freedom.

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it” [Thucydides].

“Throughout our history, thousands of brave Americans have died serving their country and fighting for their beliefs. From the early days of the American Revolution to our current war in Iraq, the numbers of battle deaths speak to the sacrifices our soldiers, and their families, have made.”

American Revolution (1775-1783)


War of 1812 (1812-1815)


Mexican War (1846-1848)


Civil War (1861-1865)

140,414 (Union); 74,524 (Confederate)

Spanish-American War (1898-1902)


World War I (1917-1918)


World War II (1941-1945)


Korean War (1950-1953)


Vietnam War (1964-1975)


Gulf War (1990-1991)


Afghanistan War (2001-present)

677 (as of April 13, 2009)

Iraq War (2003-present)

4,271 (as of April 13, 2009)

~ They Died for Their Country

The brave men and women represented by these numbers not only fought for freedom, each of their individual acts of heroism inspires our nation to remain great. “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened” [Billy Graham].

To all of those who have paid the price for our country’s freedom, who died yesterday and serve as an example of courage today, we honor you and thank you for your patriotism and service.

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost” [Arthur Ashe].

Follow the example of those who have gone before us. Be courageous today. Be a hero today. Serve others whatever the cost.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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