This July 4th to my Army Friends, those past and present and those living and gone May you find your hero’s welcome

Nelson Mandela wrote
‘ you are a child of God. Your Playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people wont feel insecure around you . We are born to manifest the glory of God that is in us . It is not just in some of us, its is in everyone, and as we let our light shine , we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same . As we’re liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others.

When I first read and pondered these thoughts I began to see the simplicity in those elegant words . We are the conductors of our own symphony. But unless we believe in the light within that sound is never heard. The truth is the “average person is potentially as creative as the CEO who sits in a big office. But the problem is the person on the bottom doesn’t trust in himself and doesn’t believe in his own light. So the choice is yours. You can choose to access your light by getting in touch with your passion and pursuing people and activities that ignite your light, or you can choose to trudge through life in a state of endurance missing most of what you experience. You see these people every day. No sense of history. If life was a symphony they would hear the notes but miss the genius. If life were a rare gem they would see the color but pay no attention to the cut
To live without your light is to live life with out fully experiencing the wonders, drama, and excitement. Engage life and the passions of life and you will find your light.

We all share this small planet We all cherish our dreams and those we love. We all breathe the same air and we are all mortal . Celebrate life everyone even those who are gone because in the end when we all have to hand in our ticket the question will be as it is for us all “Did we live or did we merely exist”?. Many good men and women are gone so that we can celebrate. In the words from the group “Rare Earth ” I just want to celebrate another day of living” and to find a new path

This upcoming July 4th I am truly thankful that I live in this great country of ours, and most of all that the vision that JFK had can still be. I have been in 42 different state and 38 countries and seen some amazing things. I am thankful of my journey and to the soldiers and life I was a part of while in the US ARMY

The notion of the hero figure has long been part of popular culture in the military. Tales of Robin Hood have been told for approximately 700 years—describing England under the oppressive grasp of Prince John, a medieval, hooded master bowman dressed in Lincoln green, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. J. K. Rowling has given us a modern hero, Harry Potter, the young wizard battling the forces of the evil Voldemort. Of course heroism takes on a whole new meaning when the savior figures concerned are super heroes with super powers.

The epitome of this genre is probably Superman, the “Man of Steel,” gifted with X-ray vision, the ability to fly and superhuman strength, whose abilities are used to help save mankind from nefarious villains or natural disasters.

The hero theme is also seen in modern music. In the mid 1980s, the Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler cried out “I need a hero” in her pop ballad, “Holding Out For A Hero.” This song was later used in the film Shrek 2, in a scene where Shrek comes to Fiona’s rescue, saving her from the clutches of the handsome but hapless imposter Prince Charming. More recently, the Canadian singer Lights, in her song “Saviour,” expresses the need for someone to come and save her—sooner rather than later.

The prevalence of this recurrent theme over the generations may indicate a deep-seated hope people have that all will turn out okay—someone will take action, come to their rescue and save them from the current peril or crisis.

It seems that when it comes to heroes we just can’t get enough. Of course, this longing is all just fantasy and could be excused as harmless escapism. It could never apply in the real world. Or could it? Sadly, many of the most despotic world leaders of previous centuries came in the guise of benevolent saviors, who rose to take on godlike status, leaving millions dead in the wake of their flawed programs. Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot are some from more recent history who come to mind. Unlike many of the heroes of literature, song and film, these all too real characters did not work for the common good. Yet amazingly many average, ordinary people, looked to these “heroes” to solve their problems. It seems that when there are desperate times many people fall prey to desperate remedies.

Some may argue that living in a more enlightened and democratic age, there is less risk of people looking to authoritarian figures to lead them and giving carte blanche to their policies. Modern Western societies especially seem much more skeptical and seem to be less easily fooled with tokenism and rhetoric than earlier cultures. Combine this with a mistrust of politicians and the political process, and you have a recipe for people taking it upon themselves to provide their own solutions to problems.

In their song, “Land of Confusion,” the rock group Genesis asks the question: “Superman where are you now?” In a land of too many people contributing to too many problems, they offer the hope that their generation will put it right. Rather than look to a superhero figure, they suggest we look to ourselves:

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a world worth living in.

On the face of it this would seem to be an ideal approach: appropriate action taken at a local level, where it is needed, by the people that are intrinsically involved. Indeed, many local community action projects thrive as a result of grassroots movements established by local citizens. While there is much good that we can do to help ourselves and others on a local level, human nature being what it is, this same principle is sometimes wrongly applied. For example, vigilantism, where an person or group take the law into their own hands and seek retribution or revenge, is a darker side of the same approach.

But to get to the heart of the matter – we are not looking forward to anything – we’ve heard the mantra of fear so long, we, as a people, have forgotten our own strengths. Kennedy, so what you will, was a leader – he made you want to get in there and do something – not like today. People who actually “do” something are reviled, demeaned and erased into oblivion. Maybe we need to stop looking for a leader and bond together as the nation we once were. Help the hungry instead of sending Xmas cards. Donate clothes instead of buying more. Put down your phones and talk to someone who could use a friend.

Harry Truman once said the only new thing in the world is the history you don’t know. Lord Bolingbroke, who was an 18th century political philosopher, said that history is philosophy taught with examples. The late Daniel Boorstin, who was a very good historian and Librarian of Congress, said that trying to plan for the future without a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers.

The task of teaching and writing history is infinitely complex and infinitely seductive and rewarding. And it seems to me than one of the truths about history that needs to be portrayed — needs to be made clear to a student or a reader — is that nothing ever had to happen the way it happened. History could have gone off in any number of different directions in any number of different ways at any point along the way, just as your own life can. You never know. One thing leads to another. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Actions have consequences. These all sound self-evident. But they’re not self-evident — particularly to a young person trying to understand life or what is a hero past or present.

Nor was there ever anything like the past. Nobody lived in the past, if you stop to think about it. (Tea Party) Jefferson, Adams, Washington — they didn’t walk around saying, “Isn’t this fascinating, living in the past?” They lived in the present just as we do. The difference was it was their present, not ours. And just as we don’t know how things are going to turn out for us, they didn’t either. It’s very easy to stand on the mountaintop as an historian or biographer and find fault with people for why they did this or didn’t do that, because we’re not involved in it, we’re not inside it, we’re not confronting what we don’t know — as everyone who preceded us always was.

Nor is there any such creäture as a self-made man or woman. We love that expression, we Americans. But every one who’s ever lived has been affected, changed, shaped, helped, hindered by other people. We all know, in our own lives, who those people are who’ve opened a window, given us an idea, given us encouragement, given us a sense of direction, self-approval, self-worth, or who have straightened us out when we were on the wrong path.

Most often they have been parents. Almost as often they have been teachers. Stop and think about those teachers who changed your life, maybe with one sentence, maybe with one lecture, maybe by just taking an interest in your struggle. Family, teachers, friends, rivals, competitors — they’ve all shaped us. And so too have people we’ve never met, never known, because they lived long before us. They have shaped us too — the people who composed the symphonies that move us, the painters, the poets, those who have written the great literature in our language. They are heroes also

We walk around everyday, every one of us, quoting Shakespeare, Cervantes, Pope. We don’t know it, but we are, all the time. We think this is our way of speaking. It isn’t our way of speaking — it’s what we have been given. The laws we live by, the freedoms we enjoy, the institutions that we take for granted — as we should never take for granted — are all the work of other people who went before us. And to be indifferent to that isn’t just to be ignorant, it’s to be rude. And ingratitude is a shabby failing.

How can we not want to know about the people who have made it possible for us to live as we live, to have the freedoms we have, to be citizens of this greatest of countries in all time? It’s not just a birthright, it is something that others struggled for, strived for, often suffered for, often were defeated for and died for, for us, for the next generation. How sad it is that our generation is failing those who came before.

Now those who wrote the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia that fateful summer of 1776 were not superhuman by any means. Every single one had his flaws, his failings, his weaknesses. Some of them ardently disliked others of them. Every one of them did things in his life he regretted. But that they could rise to the occasion as they did, these imperfect human beings, and do what they did is also, of course, a testimony to their humanity. We are not just known by our failings, by our weaknesses, by our sins. We are known by being capable of rising to the occasion and exhibiting not just a sense of direction, but strength.

Keep in mind that when we were founded by those people in the late 18th century, none of them had had any proper experience in either revolutions or nation-making. They were, as we would say, winging it. And they were idealistic and they were young. We see their faces in the old paintings done later in their lives or looking at us from the money in our wallets, and we see the awkward teeth and the powdered hair, and we think of them as elder statesmen.

But George Washington, when he took command of the continental army at Cambridge in 1775, was 43 years old, and he was the oldest of them. Jefferson was 33 when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. John Adams was 40. Benjamin Rush — one of the most interesting of them all and one of the founders of the antislavery movement in Philadelphia — was 30 years old when he signed the Declaration.

They were young people. They were feeling their way, improvising, trying to do what would work. They had no money, no navy, no real army. There wasn’t a bank in the entire country. There wasn’t but one bridge between New York and Boston. It was a little country of 2,500,000, a little fringe settlement along the east coast. What a story. And think of this: almost no nations in the world know when they were born. WE know exactly when we began and why we began and who did it.

In the rotunda of the Capitol in Washington hangs John Trumbull’s great paining, “The Declaration of Independence, Fourth of July, 1776.” It’s been seen by more people than any other American painting. It’s our best known scene from our past. And almost nothing about it is correct. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4th. They didn’t start to sign the Declaration until August 2nd, and only a part of the Congress was then present. They kept coming back in the months that followed from their distant states to take their turn signing the document. The chairs are wrong, the doors are in the wrong place, there were no heavy draperies at the windows, and the display of military flags and banners on the back wall is strictly a figment of Trumbull’s imagination.

But what is correct about it are the facts. Every single one of the 47 men in that painting is an identifiable, and thus accountable individuals. We know what they look like. We know who they were. And that’s what Trumbull wanted. He wanted us to know them and, by God, not to forget them. Because this momentous step wasn’t a paper of rules being handed down by a potentate or a king or a czar, it was the decision of a Congress acting freely. It was a Living Document

History isn’t just something that ought to be taught or ought to be read or ought to be encouraged because it’s going to make us a better citizen. It will make us a better citizen; or because it will make us a more thoughtful and understanding human being, which it will; or because it will cause us to behave better, which it will. It should be taught for pleasure: The pleasure of history, like art or music or literature, consists of an expansion of the experience of being alive, which is what education is largely about. Sorry Sarah Palin aka Michele Bachmann …I guess we can’t be Facebook friends.

And there’s no secret to teaching history or to making history interesting. Barbara Tuchman said it in two words, “Tell stories.” That’s what history is: a story. And what’s a story? E.M. Forster gave a wonderful definition to it: If I say to you the king died and then the queen died, that’s a sequence of events. If I say the king died and the queen died of grief, that’s a story. That’s human. That calls for empathy on the part of the teller of the story and of the reader or listener to the story.

We’ve got to teach history and nurture history and encourage history because it’s an antidote to the hubris of the present — the idea that everything we have and everything we do and everything we think is the ultimate, the best.

Going through the Panama Canal, I couldn’t help but think about all that I had read of what they endured to build that great path, how much they had to know and to learn, how many different kinds of talent it took to achieve that success, and what the Americans did under John Stevens and George Goethals in the face of unexpected breakdowns, landslides and floods. They built a canal that cost less than it was expected to cost, was finished before it was expected to be finished and is still running today exactly the same as it was in 1914 when it opened. They didn’t, by present day standards for example, understand the chemistry of making concrete. But when we go and drill into those concrete locks now, we find the deterioration is practically nil and we don’t know how they did it. That ingenious contrivance by the American engineers is a perfect expression of what engineering ought to be at its best — man’s creations working with nature. The giant gates work because they’re floating, they’re hollow like airplane wings. The electric motors that open and close the gates use power which is generated by the spillway from the dam that creates the lake that bridges the isthmus. It’s an extraordinary work of civilization. And we couldn’t do it any better today, and in some ways we probably wouldn’t do it as well. If you were to take a look, for example, at what’s happened with the “Big Dig” in Boston, you realize that we maybe we aren’t closer to the angels by any means nearly a hundred years later.

We should never look down on people and say that they should have known better. What do you think they’re going to be saying about us in the future? They’re going to be saying we should have known better. Why did we do that? What were we thinking of?

The Greeks said that character is destiny, and the more I read and understand of history, the more convinced I am that they were right. You look at the great paintings by John Trumbull or Charles Wilson Peale or Copley or Gilbert Stuart of those remarkable people who were present at the creation of our nation, the Founders as we call them. Those aren’t just likenesses. They are delineations of character and were intended to be.

One of the reasons we succeeded is that we were gifted, we were attuned to adaptation, to doing what works, because they were trained to do everything in a certain way. We have a gift for improvisation. We improvise in jazz; we improvise in much of our architectural breakthroughs. Improvisation is one of our traits as a nation, as a people, because it was essential, it was necessary, because we were doing again and again and again what hadn’t been done before.

It’s important that we take part. Citizenship isn’t just voting. Being patriotic is just for the 4th. We all know that. Let’s all pitch in. And let’s not lose heart. They talk about what a difficult, dangerous time we live in. And it is very difficult, very dangerous and very uncertain. But so it has always been. And this nation of ours has been through darker times. And if you don’t know that — as so many who broadcast the news and subject us to their opinions in the press don’t seem to know — that’s because we’re failing in our understanding of history and the Heroes who went before us Celebrate Life everyone and the heroes who didn’t wear a uniform also because they also helped make up who we are today

Below was the motto of my Unit when we went out to patrol everyday

So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and
Demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life,
Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and
Its purpose in the service of your people.

Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and
Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and
For the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks,
The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing,
For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts
Are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes
They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again
In a different way. Sing your song live your dreams and die like a hero going home.”

Tecumseh Shawnee Chief said this yrs ago . This is my wish for everybody

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