Misleading Leadership

When Leaders Make Mistakes - 1

A lady I know works for a major corporation in their acquisition department. Her manager recently retired and the supposed replacement brings the team in for a meeting. In that meeting it is discussed whether he will or will not seek to be the new replacement manager. The answer rendered here was a “NO”.

Upon her return home and while going through her e-mail, she receives one that states the manager who had just told her he was not going to seek the position had in fact just been awarded the position. Ok, most of you are like me. You will put out your best efforts for someone you trust. Trust from a manager is not something that comes “with the territory”, but is something that is essential not only to the success of the company but the manager as well. The real truth is…Speak a lie once and all your truth becomes questionable.

Leadership and Integrity - 1Trust on all levels whether in a relationship or workplace setting, when violated sets the stage for many hard days at work or home, to say the least. The worst feeling in the world is to know you were used and lied to by someone you trusted. How in the world can anyone think that starting off a relationship with a lie is in the best interest of anyone?

Let’s talk “man to man” here for just a bit. What hurts the most…is a lie that draws a smile or the truth that draws a tear! Hurting people with the truth is better than killing them with a lie.

Misleading Leadership - 1Think about your family for a moment. How would you look in their eyes if all you did was lie to them? Let’s put things in the proper perspective. Misleading someone is NOT a lie when what you are passing along is accurate to the best of your understanding, only to discover that those who based their actions on your statements were mislead by your statements once you determined that they were not accurate. Lying to someone is an intentional act of deception!

Traveling the way of the world will only lead to destruction. The first person you have to lie to is yourself. From there it is the life of a “poser”. You will always need to convince self that you are something you’re not.

Who do we think we are fooling?

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Photo credit: Shreyans Bhansali / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
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Kindness as a Tool


I was recently invited to speak at my sons’ school about one of the gifts of the Spirit-Kindness.

At first, I laughed when the President of the school asked that I come and provide some insight into my job as a Police Officer and how I use kindness in my work. (Do you know who I am?  You’ve heard my sharp tongue and lack of tact.  Are you sure?) His thought was that I would use kindness as a fruit of the Spirit in my profession.  In reality, I use kindness as a tool to control ‘tools’.  It is something that doesn’t naturally flow from me.  Believe me…ask anybody who has spent ten minutes with me.  I am mean and can be a tough pill to swallow.

In a recent article, Slate.com attempted to explain why Police Officers can be so arrogant and, candidly, insufferable jerks. We think differently because we deal with folks that can’t manage their surroundings and we have to intervene. We have zero tolerance for stupidity. In those moments, kindness is not going to be the first tool we are going pull from our belt.

It is God’s virtuous gift to be able to respond to the special needs of others who are hurting or in need.  In a world full of anger, selfishness, and contention, the Lord wants us to cultivate the fruit of kindness in our lives.  Let the Lord use you to show kindness to others.  –The Resurgence

As leaders, I believe we need to exercise kindness when dealing with others.  It can help us achieve more than busting someone’s chops.  Believe me I have my moments.  I recently told a mother who left her six-month old daughter and three-year son in a car alone while she went shopping that that she was being ignorant and stupid.  This was after she told me un-repentantly that she knew it was wrong to leave her children locked in a car unattended.

The best example of kindness I can think of was my recent Sergeant.  This man refers to ‘tools’, gang members, teenagers as sir and ma’am.  His tactic to be always respectful of everyone, colors, and personal space allows him to understand the intricate Gang lifestyle in Houston.  With his kindness, he was able to build a huge gang database for Police Officers to better understand the factions on the street.  And ultimately, he may have save some officers lives.  His contagious spirit emboldens other officers to be kinder and more respectful of the civilian population.  His leadership is infectious to those under his supervision.  It challenged us to slow our roll and try a different approach.  He uses the tool of kindness with a deftness that comes from years of experience on the street.  In other words, why fight when you can settle things with words.

During my talk to the students, I shared a simple story of how one aggressive officer was rude and inconsiderate to a woman who had witnessed a car chase come to an abrupt end.  What we didn’t know was that the woman just wanted to know if the person in the car was uninjured.  I only learned this because in moment of kindness I pursued her and asked her how I could help her despite my aggressive counterpart.  After a few choice words directed toward me and the aggressive officer, she stated she was told her son was involved in the car chase and all she wanted to know is if he was alive and uninjured.  I was able to share with her good news and I apologized to her for not being considerate of her needs.

It was at this moment, I was reminded that-It is God’s virtuous gift to be able to respond to the special needs of others who are hurting or in need.

As leaders, God may be wanting us to join Him in responding to special needs to those that are hurting.

The School Assignment: What makes me…ME!


I still have the privilege of helping my boys with their homework assignments.  I get the privilege of peeking under the hood peek at the heart and discover what men God is allowing them to become.  The school assignment this week in Communication was a speech about themselves.  My oldest decided to mix his unapologetic humor to a interesting perspective about himself that would make any parent proud.  I thought I would share it with you.

I was born in 1997 at midnight to my mother’s discomfort.  When I first came out I was unable to breath because my cord was wrapped around my neck.  Well life for me started as a fight.  At an early age I was a barbaric gentleman.  My dad and my grandfather were always hard on me to be respectful, polite, and to do things to the full glory of God given my abilities.  My dad taught me to fear God and him. 

My brother and I were home schooled for the majority of grade school by my loving mother who taught me the meaning of respect through the belt.  Unlike my brother I went to public school my first few years of school.  All my friends were Hispanic and Black: I found them easier to get along with than the white kids.  At home, my brother and I would play outside for hours; we never wore shirts or shoes we believed that was for wimps.  To this day I still have very little feeling in the bottom of my feet due to the hot concrete on my feet.  When I was five I received a puppy, it was my responsibility to take care of her; that was the first time I ever had to care for someone other than myself. 

Playing outside I broke my arm doing a wheelie on my bike I was very little and my brother locked me out of the house.  Pain grew me that day, because of that first break I’ve never cried again when I broke other bones in my body.  Also I came to love the Simpsons, Sponge Bob, Dragon Ball Z, and Ed, Edd, and Eddy since all I did was watch T.V.  My father with the combinations of those shows gave me a great sense of humor.  My father also knew I wanted to be a soldier so he put me in MMA and Scouts around age 12.  I got in trouble in Scouts one day for getting in a fight with a little punk.  My dad told me one of the important things I remember “Don’t start fights just to make sure you finish them” .  That along with the punishment from my MMA Instructor taught me to control myself.  Later the same kid and his friend would ambush my brother and me when I had my broken wrist.  My little brother who was 9 at the time protected me from three different kids.  This is first time I began to appreciate my brother. We finished that fight.

My brother and I are still in Scouts today.  Boy Scouts has taught me time management, communications skills, and how to survive.  It has molded me into a leader.  I’ve missed Homecoming Events every year for Scouts.  I’ve missed many fun events with my friends from school because I was climbing mountains, riding horses, licking something by the side of road, jumping off dams, canoeing up stream, fishing, burning other Scout’s things, doing back flips off mountains, running from bears, eating wild hog, shooting shotguns, falling in mud, hiking 125 miles uphill then hiking another 100 downhill just to say I did it.  And to this day I will never regret this ever.  That’s what makes me. Me!



Manday: Lone Survivor


I experienced Lone Survivor on this weekend.  Simply put.  Go see it.

During the film, two Operators were seated in front of my spouse and me.  They were sobbing through the entire film.  Several times, they were calling out the names of actual SEALs who were making cameos in the film.  To say the film was powerful would be an understatement.

Veteran Chris Marvin wrote in Parade

In my opinion, seeing Lone Survivor should be a civic obligation.

As citizens, we don’t owe much to our country from a legal perspective. Paying taxes, obeying laws, and serving on juries are mandatory. Voting is optional. Yet our democracy depends on citizens exercising more than the bare minimum of civic responsibility.


I do not have much to add to the many comments about the film.  Just go see it.


Manday: A Husband and Father’s Take on the Ranger Creed.


I was never a Ranger but many of my friends are.  I have always admired their Creed and see it as one of the most motivational things I’ve ever read.

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Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment

Recognizing that I volunteered as a Husband and Father, fully knowing the difficulties of staying happily married and raising good children in the modern world, I will always endeavor to uphold the Honor, Happiness, Faithfulness and Fidelity of my family unit.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.

Acknowledging the fact that a Husband and Father is an all encompassing and life changing job, I accept and relish the fact that my family expects me to work harder and be better that other Husbands and Fathers around me.

Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred-percent and then some.

Never shall I fail my wife or children. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be, one-hundred percent and then some.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a special kind of Husband and Father. My love and faithfulness to my wife and my love and caring for my growing children shall set the example for others to follow.

Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.

Energetically will I meet the challenges and pitfalls of being a Husband and Father. I will overcome any challenge for I am a better and more motivated Husband and Father and will try with all my might. Breaking my sacred Oath is not an option. I will never leave my Wife or Children behind and will in no circumstances will I ever embarrass my Wife or my Family.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to continue on according to God’s plan and complete my mission of taking care of my wife and raising good capable children no matter the circumstances placed upon me.

Rangers Lead The Way!!!

Manday: A Movie Recommendation and Two Must Read Articles

DF-11070-Edit - Ben Stiller in THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY.

I am a movie buff.  I have passed that passion for movies on to my two boys and my wife.  Every week, my bride and I have date night.  That date night usually consists of dinner and a movie.  The day after Christmas, my boys insisted on seeing The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  I want to highly recommend this film to you and your family.  Ben Stiller directs and stars in this amazing film.  It has a kind heart and is worth your time and money.  It is not a violent film filled with flashy stars flaunting their skin so it won’t be in the theatre for long.  See it.

One of the most powerful elements in this film is the use of cut scenes, dream sequences, and wild adventures that play out Walter’s fantasies and imagination. One minute everything is normal for Walter, and then suddenly, the scene is interrupted with loud special effects, character action, and slightly unrealistic scenarios. There is a part where Walter and his boss (Scott) are having a confrontation, and Walter zones out and imagines soaring through the city and fighting his boss like something out of “The Matrix.” This can be confusing as the scene goes completely off the rails without notice, but most times after playing out Walter’s vision, everything settles down and goes back to reality. These jumps in and out of reality are quite entertaining, and it is amusing to see Walter snap back into reality with people calling his name while he stares off into the distance. Walter’s imagination only begins as fantasy, but as the film goes on, he begins to actually experience real life adventures. The special effects and scene transitions are more than satisfactory, and there are outstanding camera shots of mountains, oceans, volcanoes and other scenery. There are many fantasy or silly scenes throughout the film, but these are presented to look the best on screen as they possibly can.  –HAYDEN PITTMAN WFAA Special Contributor


I am a father.  My 300 often share articles of interest about parenthood.  Ken shared the following article during one of our many breakfast meetings,  I found it convicting and thought provoking.  The article is entitled:  How to Raise a Pagan Kid in a Christian Home.  Click on the link and read it.  It will get the spiritual and moral juices flowing.

 “And that was such a huge shift for me from the American Christian ideal. We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Our gospel has become a gospel of following your dreams and being good so God will make all your dreams come true. It’s the Oprah god.”

Lastly, I am also a man who checks the pulse of politics and social issues.   My friend and popular author David T., shared an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal that I had to share with you.  I thought it was appropriate with all the turmoil surrounding free speech, reality TV shows, and alternate lifestyles.  I also found it amazingly appropriate for Manday.  I teased on Facebook, that Ms. Paglia’s views are pure heresy and would be rejected by the small fringe groups, mass media, and popular opinion makers.  I challenge you to read it.  The article is entitled: Camille Paglia: A Feminist Defense of Masculine Virtues.  Yes.  That Camille.

“Politically correct, inadequate education, along with the decline of America’s brawny industrial base, leaves many men with “no models of manhood,” she says. “Masculinity is just becoming something that is imitated from the movies. There’s nothing left. There’s no room for anything manly right now.” The only place you can hear what men really feel these days, she claims, is on sports radio. No surprise, she is an avid listener. The energy and enthusiasm “inspires me as a writer,” she says, adding: “If we had to go to war,” the callers “are the men that would save the nation.”

I wanted to share these three things with you as you start your New Year.

Here is to a great 2014!!!

REPOST: Accountability: Two Men on a Roof


Don Munton is the Singles Minister at Houston’s First Baptist Church. He is a mentor-pastor-friend of mine. Don shares an amazing story with the young single men under his leadership about accountability. He would always preface the story by telling them that a man alone is a man in the danger zone. (Insert images of Maverick and Goose slicing through the skies in an F14.)

Don would tell the story of two men on a roof from two opposite sides of the Bible. In 2 Samuel, we are told the first man was a king. He should have been taking care of kingly duties, like waging a war from the front lines, but instead he was on his roof overlooking his kingdom. Lo and behold, he spots a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop and he can’t control himself. (In today’s terms, he was browsing the web and stumbled onto a site he could not resist.) He orders the woman to his bed and takes her. (He takes an ad out on Craig’s List and she responds.) Because of this man’s lack of accountability and pride, a husband is murdered, a child dies, a scandal ensues, and a kingdom is almost forfeit.

Fast forward to Mark Chapter 2, we see a paralyzed man being carried by four men to Jesus to be healed. Unfortunately, the crowds around Jesus don’t allow the men to get to the front door. So they carry their paralyzed friend to the roof of the house and begin tearing open the roof to lower their friend to Jesus. (Imagine being in the house and bits and pieces of the ceiling begin falling on you and then a man is lowered on a cot down towards your honored guest. You look up and think-Someone is paying for that.) Jesus heals the man. Now that man could not have gotten to Jesus without the help of his four friends. He could not have gotten on the roof without their aid.

Now look at the two men. One man was alone…a king…an island onto himself…somewhere he should not have been. And he failed. A momentary lapse in judgment. Where was his support group? Where were the men that would tell him that he needed to be at war and not at home alone on a rooftop?

The paralyzed man is helpless. He was not alone. No delusions of self-sufficiency. The man couldn’t care for himself without the help of others. He gets healed. But let’s look at the faith of his friends. The four men had to carry their buddy through the crowd. They probably had to carry him several blocks out of the way to get to Jesus, climb to a roof, traverse several rooftops, and then tear away a roof knowing Jesus would heal their friend. At any point, the crippled man may have said: “Stop! It’s too much trouble. I’m fine.” I have carried a grown man on a cot over three miles. It is not an easy task. But the men persevered; they may have even encouraged each other. What an amazing story of friendship and accountability.

Now I don’t have to tell you all the ways men can get into trouble today. We have enough talking heads telling us how bad we men are. So I won’t laundry list you into submission and guilt. You know the list and the proclivities we as men are inclined towards. So that is why it is so important to have life-minded men in your life to keep you accountable and tell you what you need to hear when you stray and encourage you when you stay true.

Do you have any friend who would carry you toward the Savior when you need Him the most?

Do you have a group of men who struggle and endure with you in your good and bad times?

Or would they allow you to be alone and handle it on your own? Could you be a friend like that to someone?

Find those men. Your life depends on it.

Manday: I’m a Good Dad!


Every father should read the lyrics to or listen to Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin before they put their kids to bed every night. In other words, no one ever sat on their Deathbed and said I wish I had drank more or I wish I had watched more TV.

I’m a good dad! At its base, I know I’m a good Dad. Other people tell me I’m a good Dad.  One of the best compliments I’ve ever received was from a divorced/ single parent friend who said “I’m a good dad but I try to raise my game to your level every time I have my son.” That got me thinking how lucky I am. I have an occupation that allows me to be home at night. I leave for work between 0430 and 0630 every morning so my kids will be lacking any memories of breakfast with Dad but overall, I am involved in their lives and around a lot. So basically I know I’m a good Dad….but when I listen to Cats in the Cradle, I want to cry. When I read The Giving Tree, I want to hang myself. It’s so SAD!

I first heard Cats in the Cradle when I was a kid. When I was serving in the military in the Middle East, my rack mate, was a young man from Georgia who had a thing for this song! He would listen to it all the time! And if he listened to it while drinking he would become down right belligerent. His father was a much decorated major in the U.S. Army and was wounded several times as a member of a very elite unit. He was all a man could want and achieve in a military career or the kind of man a young boy would look up to in absolute awe but their relationship followed Chapin’s song very closely.

When I look at my relationship with my own father, the pattern is evident although less pronounced than my friends. In this rambling account, all I strive to say is BE a better father! Be more present! Be a real man! Be a warrior! Be a sheep dog that takes on any challenge with gusto! I’ve certainly come home after 12 and 15 hour days and wanted nothing more than a cold beer and a good TV show, but it’s not about you.


I’m a good dad but I’ve become better! I’ve faced challenges with my health that has included several hospital stays! My most recent setback 13 months ago was an epiphany for me.  I had tubes running up my nose and down my throat. As I spent three listless days lying in that bed, I vowed that I would never say no to my kids again. I thought to myself that at that moment, I would give anything to be hugging my son and daughter, to be playing ball with my son or braiding my daughters hair (a real man, an accomplished man, a self taught man goes on YouTube and finds hair braiding videos and learns).

I’m a great Dad. I’ve been told I am. But I thought about the countless times I had told or yelled at my son to go in the other room. Daddy’s watching TV or the game or daddy’s tired or any other weak excuse! Certainly, many of those are true! I was watching the game or I was eating my dinner but if God grants me twenty more years on this earth and I see my son grow into a man! What’s going to be more important! That game of catch or wrestling on the bed or reading the book or my memories of watching Matt Schaub throw his latest interception? We all know the answer.

It’s not easy to say yes every time but I have come up with my own rules for it with the long term goal of passing on good values and raising my children well but it works…it’s a real challenge and there are gut checks someday but a real man and a real father takes on a challenge head on.

My simple solution is that I have breakfast with my children once a week.  I take them to ice cream once a week.  I have a super fantastic Daddy Funday once a week so Momma can have some time to her self (happy wives that have been recharged hanging out with their friends come back to bed recharged as well gentlemen).  I wrestle with my kids for five minutes on the bed every night they want. They understand and I set my iPhone timer for five minutes and we go all out. Timer goes off and they go in the other room…but five minutes a night is a reasonable amount of time and the good memories.

I try my hardest, and this has been the hardest to keep, I spend 20 minutes a day of 100% undivided attention with everyone I love solely focused on them. I spend 20 minutes with my son doing whatever he wishes to do…play, eat, read, wrestle, talk about dinosaurs etc.  I spend 20 mins with my daughter and we usually end up watching My Little Pony or doing something surrounding My Little Pony. If Harvard’s application process solely covered My Little Pony, my daughter would be an early Admission and graduate Summa cum laude.

And then finally most importantly and the intro to the second part of my post, I spend 20 minutes focused solely on my wife, the mother of my children doing whatever she wants to do. I usually rub her feet and listen to her day and it has become a very important bonding portion of our day. Some days, it’s the only time we spend alone together. But one of the greatest gifts I give to my children is–to honor their mother. Then Harry Chapin comes on again!

Remember your children! Especially your sons. They are going to grow up exactly like you someday! Who do you want them to be?

Open Letter: Thankful for My Mentors!


Dear Mentors-

In the past few weeks, I have noticed on social media numerous individuals stating their thankfulness for their blessings as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.  I looked back on my roller coaster life and noticed where God brought significant people into my life to mold, mentor, and hold me accountable. I can clearly say without the selfless sacrifices these amazing men and women made, I would not be what God intended me to be. I shudder at the alternative of the type of person I could have been. I am thankful to you, my mentors.

I am thankful for Dr. Terry Samplaski and his lovely wife, Sharon, for adopting me during my wayward college days. I remember learning how to serve as a Christian by just watching Terry. This amazing man simply went to his knees and covered me in prayer. I remember light moments like playing Madden Football on his monochrome IBM personal computer as the highlight of my week. I would wander off and Terry continued to greet me with open arms upon my return. This man mentored and guided me by discipling and simply loving me.

terry and sharon

Thank you, Terry and Sharon.

Then there was Bobby and Ginger Bell. This amazing duo took a young married couple under their wings and taught us how to survive the early tumultuous years of marriage. If it hadn’t been for these amazing friends who took us in and just fellowshipped with us, I know our marriage would be very different. I will never forget when I was fired from my first job as a Sales Rep at Aggie 96 Radio; Bobby hired me as an On-Air-Radio Personality at the same station within five minutes to the detriment of his career. He took a chance on me. For that I am eternally grateful.  And so is my beautiful bride.

Bobby-You took my wife and me on a fishing trip on a cold autumn day. Of course, you and I caught nothing. Nor caught and brought home one catfish. You and I, then, went to Albertson’s to buy catfish for the much anticipated fish fry.

Ginger convinced me to sing Tenor as part of a living Christmas tree at their church. I have to admit I will never do that again.

bobby and ginger

Thank you, Bobby and Ginger.

My best friend, Darrin. Wherever you are. I wish we could mend the fence we broke. I have so much to tell you. I am a cop now. Can you believe it? Yeah, me neither. The boys ask for you.  The Cowboys still stink.  Your XBOX controller is still on my television.  I miss picking you up at the airport when you would visit.  Your friendship still means everything to me. You taught me how to be a friend, laugh, and just live. As an only child, you were and still are the closest thing I have to a brother.

I miss you, man.  I hope you are happy.  I hope you are married to a hot smoking woman and dizzy in love with her.  I just hope…


Thank you, Darrin.

Finally, my 300. Mark, Allen, and Ken. Wow! It’s been a long time. I can’t thank you enough for the amazing Wednesday after 7AM conversations. I don’t think I would be where I am today without the Lord bringing you into my life. You three didn’t pull any punches. I have never been so challenged by you three Godly men. We just might get our families through this thing called life. I lost a great friend and then God gave me three brothers to fill the gap. We are not old but we are getting older. I can’t think of a better crowd of men I would want to spend my free time.


I am thankful for each of you.

Thank you Jesus for these amazing individuals who decided to invest in me.  And because of every one of you, Mentors, I am paying it forward.

Your friend,


Captain America Never Existed


As we come out of Halloween filled with Superheroes and the determined pursuit of ones own self(ish) interest (trick or treating), I and few Americans look forward to a more hallowed day that has become a hollow day to the majority of Americans.

Veterans Day, the red headed step-child of its much cooler Father, Memorial Day (probably due to booze/bbq/and the Summer bikini) will come and go without much notice by the average American with the possible exception of the Post Office and a few banks here and there being closed.

It wasn’t always that way.  November 11th 1918, Veterans Day originally called Armistice Day originally celebrated and memorialized the Service of some twenty million American men sent abroad and away from home to fight “over there”, in the big war, in the war to end all wars.

We late 20th Century Americans sometimes forget that America wasn’t always the military steamroller it is today. World War I was for most of 1914 to the final German Spring Offensive of 1918, a really close call, I mean razor close. We didn’t know we were going to win as in all our military entanglements of the past forty years; it wasn’t a given or foregone conclusion.

And that’s where Americans came in, spurred on by calls of service, sacrifice and a good bit of jingoism, American young men by the hundreds of thousands, the millions left the farms, the factories, and the universities to fight over there. They did it because they were ordered, because they were threatened, because of selflessness and perhaps the raison d’être for military enlistments since the Greeks and Spartans.

Chicks love a man in uniform.  These men traveled by train and by ship across a sea they had never seen. These men traveled by train and by ship to a beach they had never been to. These men traveled by train and by ship to a land they had only read about in books if they could read at all. Mind you, this was the time that the average blue collar American never traveled more than twenty or thirty miles from their home in their entire lives because the plane was less than 15 years old.

These men, using grit and a farm boy work ethic charged the Hun and their Maxim guns and in short order, about a year and a half, finished a job the British and French were unable to complete. If World War I were a movie, it would be Star Wars-where a ragtag bunch of Farm Boys traveled to the other side of the Galaxy and came home with the big win.

Speaking of coming home, today we complain about being gone for a three-, six- or nine-month deployments. But back then, you kissed your sweetheart goodbye and didn’t come back until you were dead, missing a limb or got the job done. Today, less than 1% of Americans will serve in uniform in their lifetimes. Things have changed. Attitudes have changed.

Through Vietnam and into Present Day, we have forgotten what we can do for our country. We continuously ask with our outstretched hand, “What is our Country going to do for us?”

This became readily apparent after the events of September 11, 2001. I was in the Navy at the time and posted to the Arabian Gulf and as we occasionally got the chance to watch CNN, I was waiting, waiting, and waiting to see the lines and lines of young men in line at the Recruiting Stations to meet this new enemy on their own turf. It never materialized and that’s become the problem.

Captain America never existed.  SEAL Team Six can’t rescue us from everything and anything that comes down the pipe. Real life doesn’t work like that.


Today, there are 2 million Captain Americas in all shapes and sizes doing all manner of jobs daring and mundane and they leave the Service one way or another. They stand in Boardrooms and Classrooms and Street Corners, they rarely talk about their experiences whether it’s the challenge of feeding 5,000 servings of scrambled eggs every morning on an Aircraft Carrier for 6 months or surviving a bloody ambush in the streets of Sadr City.

Remember them and honor them in your own private way whether it’s a handshake or a door hold or a tip of the hat to the old timers that wear their Korean Veteran trucker Hats with 60 shiny pins going through them displaying every facet of their lives as fighting men.

The greatest gift we can give our Veterans and our children is to teach our children that Captain America never existed. There is no Super Soldier that we can call on in a time of war. Everyone that has ever worn the uniform, heard the jets exhaust, witnessed rounds crack overhead, and seen peoples bodies turned inside out owns a small tiny piece of that Red, White, and Blue Uniform. They deserve a small sliver of that Red, White, and Blue Shield.

Captain America never existed but every year several hundred thousand young men and women, not old enough to drink a beer, line up at Airports the same way their predecessors lined up at train stations to take the challenge of doing something for their country. They line up like their predecessors to take a journey that has an unknown fate and unforeseen outcome asking not what their Country can do for them but what they can do for their Country.

This Veterans Day, if you want to thank a Veteran, buy them a donut or a cup of coffee.  Noticing and acknowledging their Disabled Veteran License Plates or their Vietnam Sticker, is nice and all.

But if you really want to honor a Veteran, join the fight yourself, grab a rifle, a shovel or a spatula and do your part overseas to keep America safe.  If you are too old or missed your chance, have an honest conversation with your children or a young person about service and sacrifice and what they can do for their Country.

David T.  11/11/2013