In short, I love being an American. I realize I have a part in the most significant experiments in liberty and justice. I want to take advantage of my good fortune, and I want to play my part well.
I’ve had the honor of serving in the Air Force for just over 20 years, and that has made all the difference. I’ve lived in the Philippines during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and in the Shah’s Iran just as it was being taken over by Islamic radicals. I’ve sat in the Kremlin and been beguiled by a senior party member only to snap out of that cleverly induced reverie by the thought of tens of millions of dead. The dead who believed life was about liberty and justice. Age, travel, education, reading, and study cause contemplation. But for the bravery of our revolutionary soldiers and patriot leaders, life could have turned out much differently in our country.
I was blessed with realizations from travel beyond the gleaming showplaces of totalitarian countries, where the reality of oppression was starkly three dimensional:
Beyond Manila, gleamingly “modern,” the countryside was littered with good people simply subsisting. I was struck that the only shoes many knew were flip-flops. Fishermen on the coast used ancient tools and methods to hew an outrigger from a tree trunk. The only concession was a two-stroke motor, which no doubt cost nearly a year’s salary.
Once out of Moscow on a train, everything turned gray, stuck in the last century. Endless ramshackle, tumble-down homes and land farmed by a horse-pulled plow and hand tools imprisoned a family for generations. If a crop failed, the family failed. It wasn’t a coincidence that the authorities had us travel at night.
Outside Tehran just a few miles it seemed like the seventh century, in which the way of life ignored the equality, fairness, and justice a republic enjoys.
Yes, the situation in America could have been different and should not be taken for granted. The stark realities of how some people of the world survive significantly motivated me to begin and write Becoming a New Wave Leader.
What does the march of civilizations have to do with you, me, us in our moment? We have a duty and responsibility — and joyful advantage — to fulfill our potential, to pursue our best. As you read this book, perhaps you’ll come to deeply appreciate and understand, as I did, what it is to:
- Live with Virtue
- Strive with Character
- Thrive for a Lifetime
Hope you liked this story as much as I enjoyed telling it to you.
You’ll find many more true stories of how to live the Good Life in Becoming a New Wave Leader.