America’s favorite storyteller and my favorite author, Louis L’Amour, wrote hundreds of books about life on the frontier – cowboys, Indians, gunslingers, outlaws, Texas Rangers, frontier marshals, cattle rustlers and more.
All of his stories pitted good against evil, knowledge against ignorance, courage against hate, and greed against charity. And through all the gunfights, trail rides, campfires and hard work, one lesson stamped it’s indelible impression on my pre-adolescent brain – the true measure of a man (or a woman), in fact the very definition of man or woman, is his or her willingness to accept and bear the burden of responsibility. To be a man or woman, you simply had to do your duty, take responsibility for your actions and follow through on your promises.
By this definition, a nine-year-old was as eligible to be a “man” or a “woman” as was a forty-year-old. It wasn’t something that just happened to you; it was something you did, something you earned, and something you worked for. What a great way to look at life.
Nowhere is this bedrock principle more evident than in our armed forces. We’re a free nation, kept free by the work, strength and, sometimes, death of young men and women who have taken it upon themselves to shoulder and accept the burden of responsibility. Young men and women who have decided, on their own, to protect our country and our freedom, to preserve our way of life and, in some cases, to help other countries walk down the same path. That is an awesome responsibility.
In this issue, our very own, Ron Ciancutti gives you a chance to meet one such man (twenty-year-old Marine, Lance Corporal David A. Mendez Ruiz) in a very personal way – as only Ron can do.
His story and the story of our nation work to underscore the very personal and necessary work each of you do each day across our great country. Whether it’s planning your city’s Fourth of July celebrations, passing along life skills to the youth of our community or just working to keep our country’s citizens healthy and happy, we all have a job to do, a responsibility to shoulder. Our commitment to shouldering that responsibility, to doing our job to the best of our abilities and taking responsible for our successes and failure is what makes each of us great and, by extension, our country great.
It’s also a great way to say thank you to those young men and woman working so hard to keep us free.
Enjoy your Fourth of July and thanks for all you do.
Till next month….
Rodney J. Auth