Tomorrow we weigh in our votes in probably the most controversial election this country has ever witnessed. Although those that know me know which side I lean towards, I do not believe in bombarding social media, my friends or even acquaintances with my political beliefs. I am ready for this election to be over mainly because I feel when politicians step on stage and petition for our vote, a lot of what they do is divide us even more through their rhetoric and hate-filled rants regarding their opponent.
However, I do feel – and hope- that there is one thing everyone in America can agree on and that is that we should honor, respect, and appreciate our Veterans, what they have done for us, and how they have protected our liberties and freedoms. During our stay in the UK last year we learned that the month of November poppies are everywhere in the UK- in shops, restaurants, in parks, lapels, newspapers – everywhere. It is the symbol they use to support and honor their Veterans on Remembrance Day (November 11th) and the poppies remain all month long. On a morning run I came across rows of crosses with poppies each placed with a name of a Veteran being honored by a loved one. Memorials like these were just about everywhere we looked all month long and make me quite envious. Why don’t Americans dedicate an entire month to those that gave us the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy in the states? Why are so many of them homeless, forgotten, or sometimes even criticized for putting their lives on the line for many of us they will never even know?
I have been incredibly fortunate to have Veterans in my family and one in particular who has afforded me several opportunities to meet, know and hear stories from many amazing men and women who have served our country. Attending Marine Corp Balls, trips to D.C. honoring this family member, volunteering with the Marines each year, assisting Marines at the Paralympics swimming prelims, hosting Marines for the holidays…..the list goes on with all the amazing experiences being a part of former military family.
The person who has connected me with so many people for ISP and helped with many of our events has been our very own, Don Esmond. Last week, he was awarded the President’s Award for the Lifetime Achievement by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Please do me the honor of watching this short video that talks about selflessness, strength, loyalty and leadership. I have learned so much from this man and his family that has helped me in life, business and ISP – and am proud that my beautiful young daughters can call this role model, “Grandpa”. Click here or to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIRy5Fw6YVg&feature=youtu.be
No matter how you vote on Tuesday, please never forget those that came before us who put their lives on the line to provide us with the freedoms we have today.