True Measure of Greatness

True Measure of Greatness

Armed Service, Excellence, Friendship, Individual Greatness, Leadership, Priorities, Veterans
I recently attended the Memorial Service of W. Parker Greene of Valdosta, Georgia.  A former Army Corporal, furniture businessman and father/husband from an obscure Southern town, anyone who did not know him is sure to wonder why the highest ranking officer in the United States Air Force, the Mayor, State Chief of the Highway Patrol and a number of other dignitaries, including over 3,000 people, would show up to celebrate the life of this 87-year old Southern Gentleman.  And therein lies the secret of greatness of Parker.               Parker did not hail from any powerful family.  He was not a great business leader who commanded millions of dollars.  He was not a politician in any sort of way, as I never saw him disparage an opposing view or another person, and he sought no elected…
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Veterans and Ballplayers–Helping them Find Their Next Team

Armed Service, Freedom, PTSD, Team, Veterans
Military Team Members The statistics are staggering. According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 78% of National Football League (NFL) players are either bankrupt or are under financial stress within two years of retirement and an estimated 60% of National Basketball Association (NBA) players go bankrupt within five years after leaving their sport. While many of these numbers have been disputed and minimized, the facts still clearly show a large number of formerly elite athletes struggle after their careers. They struggle with the day to day, with divorce, with finding other employment, with finding meaning in their lives. The statistics between these former marquis athletes and veterans is eerie. Like the athletes, many veterans were the cream of the crop (Just don't ask Salon or the NYT). They endured challenging training, acquired skills that few in the world…
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Memorial Day–A Boy’s Favorite Christmas Present

Armed Service, Christmas, Freedom, History, Military Affairs, Motherhood, Veterans
My father in law often spoke of his favorite Christmas gift ever--a box of shrapnel pieces from Army Air Force bombs. During World War II, the United States' industrial base kicked into high gear to supply bombs, bullets, aircraft, tanks, jeeps, ships, and GI helmets to the war front.  Aside from supplying basic wartime needs for the over twelve million US servicemen, the American factories supplied all of the above for British, Soviet and other allied forces to help defeat the Axis powers.  And it worked. In a steel mill in Pennsylvania, hot molten steel was formed into everything needed to win the war.  Part of that steel was formed into bomb bodies, weighing anywhere from one…
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The Doolittle Raiders–The Essence of a Heroic Volunteer Force

Armed Service, Flight, Freedom, Military Affairs, Value of Life, Veterans
I take no credit for the following story or its composition.  Just felt compared to share it to remind a few of us how great our legacy is as Americans.  I hope I would have volunteered as did this man and his compatriots.  For them, Patriotism was not a theoretical discussion.  As we sit around whining about our first world problems, take a moment or two to read this excellent firsthand account by the pilot of aircraft #13 on the Doolittle Raid off the Hornet in 1942. My  name is  Edgar McElroy. My friends call me "Mac". I was  born and  raised in Ennis , Texas the youngest of  five children, son of Harry and  Jennie McElroy.  Folks say that…
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Beyond Training–The Heart of a Protector

Armed Service, Excellence, Flight, Individual Greatness, Law Enforcement, Leadership, Veterans
  Mass shootings are never simple.  Regardless of how simple determining a 'cause' may be, and how easily we are able to punish those at fault, no one wins.  Loved ones are still gone.  Lives are forever changed for the worse.  Justice and new procedures never right the wrongs, never make everything better.  Such will be the case in the Parkland, Florida shooting. In the wake of the mass shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the nation once again soul-searches for an answer to 'why' and how to stop future events like this.  Many are quick to point a finger at the first sign of failure.  We want to ban guns.  We want to crucify the FBI for their lack of action, to…
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Unexpected Heroism from a celebrity Hero–Eddie Rickenbacker

Freedom, Friendship, History, Individual Greatness, Leadership, Military Affairs, Personal Value, Veterans
Eddie Rickenbacker was America's Ace of Aces with 26 kills during World War I.  Despite his initial rejection into flight school because of his 8th grade education, Eddie eventually became the leading ace, Medal of Honor winner, darling of the Allied media, and commander of the 94th "Hat in the Ring" Squadron.  The world knows him for such heroics, but they were just expressions of who he really was--a quiet, every day over-achiever who never took himself too seriously or forgot his roots. Losing his father at 13, Eddie Rickenbacker instantly became the man of the house.  The third of 9 children, but the one who felt the responsibility most for his family, Eddie dropped out of…
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