I am a big believer in being positive, looking at the glass as half full. I absolutely believe that being positive can be beneficial to your health, your relationships and even your career. I am a cheerleader by nature, an eternal optimist by choice, which is not always easy, especially in today’s increasingly angry world.

Amongst all the negative chatter we hear almost every day, I took solace in this old, but wonderful story:

While roaming the hot desert, a young man came across a spring of delicious water. The water was so sweet he filled his leather canteen so he could bring some back to an elder who had been his Teacher. 

After a very long, 4-day journey he presented the water to the old man who took a deep drink, smiled warmly and thanked his student for the delicious water. The young man returned to his village with a very happy heart.

Later that day, the Teacher let another student taste the water. He spat it out, saying it was just awful! It apparently had become quite stale during the 4-day journey in the old leather container. The student challenged his teacher: “Master, the water was foul! Why did you pretend to like it?”

The Teacher replied, “Son, you only tasted the water. I tasted the gift. The water was simply the container for an act of loving-kindness and nothing could be sweeter.”

I feel our energy can be depleted when we’re only focused on what’s wrong instead of what is right with our lives. One of our greatest challenges is to live and love in spite of fear, sadness, and despair. It is all about CHOICES.

Working at the USS Midway Museum has shown me that for generations, millions of young men and women have chosen to fight for our freedoms, have chosen to defend our liberties, and chosen to do what is right by sacrificing for our country. 

I am lost for words when I meet former POWs, the humble men who are our forever heroes. I am continually stopped in my tracks when I see the young midshipmen or the huge marching brigade of chief petty officers when I realize their career choices are for YOU and for ME. Their decision to join the military is for the betterment of OUR future, to advance freedom, to protect our lives, and to make sure we never forget that the horrors of war are­­—horrible. 

Even when faced with the global pandemic over the last year and a half, our nation’s finest have chosen to continue putting themselves in harm’s way all around the world. They choose to oppose oppression, terror, lawlessness and brutality in the hope of ultimately fostering, peace, kindness, order and humaneness. 

These servicemembers who have chosen this sacred path are, in my book, heroes and champions of all that is good and right. I’m thankful every day for the men and women who wear the uniform of our country. I am so very proud, and slightly verklempt, to be associated with such an outstanding, awe-inspiring group of people. 

To all of you who have served in any way, you have my deepest respect and love. Thank you, sincerely, thank you!

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