I was honored to speak at the City of Auburndale, Florida, Veterans Day celebration this past weekend and I learned yet again how many people in our communities step up to serve others in one way or another.
Dr. Danielle DeConcilio, Administrator for the city’s Adult School program served as our host for the event. She introduced me after canvassing the room encouraging Veterans to tell their stories from the wars they served in. As you might expect, there were some incredible accounts of military service and sacrifice embedded in those short stories. My own comments centered on my Dad’s service during the Korean war and on a notion I’ll call the ‘cycle of Veterans.’ In this description, I acknowledged the old-timers who came before us and the current Veterans in the country today who are proud to have served in wars abroad from WW II to Korea, Vietnam and Iraq & Afghanistan. I finished my description of this cycle of military service by highlighting a few of the young people I interviewed during the past week when I served on Congressman Dennis Ross’ Service Academy Selection Board. For this year’s board, we interviewed over twenty young men and women who were interested in attending one of the nation’s military academies. As always, I was impressed by the poise, caliber and motivation of these young people who are willing to serve their country after getting their college degrees and then commissioning as junior officers. One of the young people I was most impressed with wanted to attend West Point. She told the board her parents fully supported her decision to serve in the military and that even if she didn’t get selected for the academy, she would serve in the Army after graduation from college. She simply wanted to serve her country. But, the most impressive part of this young lady’s story was that she was an orphan from China for the first seven years of her life before her new parents adopted her and brought her to the U.S. She told me during the interview that “the best part of America was that it was the land of opportunity…” I was truly impressed by the simplicity of her answer.
During the next part of the ceremony I listened to Mayor Tim Pospichal’s presentation and was struck by his impressive record of service to his city and her citizens. A Veteran named Ernest seated next to me whispered that Tim was the ‘best mayor ever’ and he should know, since he’s lived in Auburndale for the last 50 years. Ernest said that Tim just liked to serve people in the city.
Finally, I watched as a small group of men and women from the local Rotary Club served eggs, bacon and biscuits to all the Veterans before sitting quietly in the audience as the Vets told their stories. I also observed a group of young high school students with crisp uniforms from the local JROTC detachment who volunteered their time on a Saturday morning to serve as ushers for the event and clean up afterwards.
After the ceremony on the way home with my wife Sandra, we concluded there are many, many people in our communities who ‘just serve’ their fellow citizens – like the men and women in the military and our first responders and caregivers. So, I take this opportunity to sincerely thank all those who serve others in our community, and I appreciate the willingness of our national and local leaders to give us a day off each year during the second week of November. It’s nice to get a little extra time to spend with family and friends and to have some bacon and eggs with other Veterans in the community.
Two Blue Aces’ Senior Consultants have delivered countless motivational speeches around the globe using unique approaches to energize a wide variety of audiences. Give us a call to speak to your organization.
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