Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

A Reminder from Arlington

arlington00011      Last September, our Chamber delegation met with Senators Dole and Burr and Congresswoman Myrick and Congressman Watt in D.C.  We spoke about a variety of issues from road improvements, and energy to what we perceived then was just a sluggish economy.  Within days of our trip, news of bank failings, lost jobs, and the credit crisis filled the evening news.  We arrived back home feeling a sense of accomplishment.  Little did we know the news which would overshadow that trip – a market collapse requiring a “rescue” by the federal government.

     While in D.C. we did have an opportunity for a little sight seeing.  The most awe inspiring was a trip to Arlington National Cemetery.  Perhaps there is nothing more stirring than to look at the row after row of white markers designating our national heroes, many who served our country well.  Most, giving their very lives to protect the freedoms, liberty, and rights we hold so dear.

     Some may not know that Arlington, our nation’s most precious shrine, is the home of Robert E. Lee.  I must confess that I am an unabashed Son of the South.  I was probably sixteen before someone finally convinced me that Lee was not really a member of the Holy Trinity.  However, we are kin!  My great grandmother’s father is Lee’s fifth cousin.

     I know…people from the north wonder how we southerners can go on and on about our cousins three times removed.  So how is it that America’s most cherished shrine honors a man who led the army that fought for southern independence from the Union?

     With the passage of time, Americans came to appreciate Lee’s role in reuniting the nation after the Civil War.  The Confederate general’s example inspired men and women of his day to lay down grievances and get on with the job of rebuilding a new and better America.  Lee used his influence to move away from the bitterness of the war to reunion and peace.  “Madam,” Lee admonished a Southern visitor in his last years, “Don’t bring up your sons to detest the United States Government.  Recollect that we form one country now.  Abandon all these local animosities and make your sons American.”

     The situation we find ourselves in today with the challenges to our free market, health and welfare, our very jobs are a result of greed and partisanship.

     Government spends – it does not solve.  Only people can solve the problems that were created by people in the first place.  It will require putting aside labels, and bickering, and politics, and partisanship and putting service above self and people above party.

     We are reminded of the souls that stand silent sentry on the hills of Arlington. Those who paid the ultimate price for God and country – for you and me – and the generations who will inherit this great exercise in democracy.

     Each generation is tested.  No great opportunity comes without risk, no great reward without hard work and determination.  And working together, we will rebuild this economy better than it was before.  Because we are all Americans and like the generation before us we will accept nothing less than our very best.

March 12, 2009 - Posted by | Leadership Lessons | , , ,

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