What do you stand (up) for?

Have to admit that I am frustrated by the level of discourse in the American media – both conservative and liberal alike.  Everyone seems to want to take one of the poles rather than find a way to understand each other and figure how to make it all work. People keep asking me my opinion on the Kahns, the election, and now Colin Kapernik. Not sure I have any good answers.

OK, Colin Kapernik sat down during the National Anthem as a protest.  He did not beat his wife or kill someone or rob someone or even do performance enhancing drugs.  He demonstrated his right as an American for peaceful protest.  Personally, I wish he felt differently but he is expressing his view of his American experience – not what you think his view and actions should be.  Land of the free – this means you have a right to your beliefs within the law.

However, I wish instead he stood up for something.  Has he used those millions to start a legal fund to help those who he deems as disenfranchised?  Has he gone to the inner cities and started businesses to bring employment there back?

He is not someone I look at and see a role model as I do not know his character from his actions – and it would be wrong for me to judge him based on this singular event.  I am more likely to look at Tim Tebow, who was skewered in the media for his on field actions but we should note that for every one time he bowed on the field, he spent more time giving back in the community.

Friends of mine, Frank and Donna Masley, have great character. When they started their business, they picked a spot that was easy to reach in the city of Wilmington.  They give back in the city too.  They are the American answer to how to fix things – be involved, provide opportunity, bring hope to an area that was down on its luck.

So, rather than sitting on the bench during the national anthem or on your couch at the end of the day (as I often do),

What or who do you stand up for?  Do you fight cancer?  Do you provide support for families of the fallen?  Do you tutor or mentor at risk students?  Do you provide training for people coming out of prison?  Do you make meals for the homeless?  Do you give a ride to someone in need?

Now, with that out of the way, I would like to ask for your help in helping me stand up for something I believe in.

This link will take you to a donation page for the Travis Manion 9/11 Heroes Run.  I will be running in West Chester PA on September 11.  All donations go to programs which support surviving family members of fallen heroes, school programs in Leadership and Character Does Matter, and veteran programs to help them re-enter the work force after their service to our country.

John Mosko’s Fundraiser Page for Travis Manion Foundation’s 9/11 Heroes Run – West Chester

Just ask  – “If not me, then who? ” Travis Manion


Random Acts of Kindness in Honor of Chris

Many of you will be thinking of Chris, Brandon, and Dick on 26 April, the day they were killed in Afghanistan.  Reg and Sean from EODMU3 as well as David and Patrick – SEALS will also come to mind (http://goo.gl/hnL59z)

I would ask that you pick up a couple a $5 gift cards for a lunch or a snack for a needy person or even drop off a bag of groceries at your local food bank.  If you can do that, I would be grateful.  Ideally, drop a card in briefly explaining the sacrifice of these young men – or just give it in honor of all fallen warriors.

Thanks so much and have a blessed week.

Facing a crazy week

Sitting here reflecting on the numbers 4, 35, and 60.  4 is painful and associated with grief.  35 is associated with the beginning of the greatest adventure, love and friendship of my life.  60 is just a number – associated with another trip around the sun.

And what have I learned?

4 – on April 26, we will relive a bitter, painful day when we received the news that Chris had been killed in Afghanistan along with Dick Lee and Brandon Eggleston.

  1. The love of that child does not change. I talk about him because, while I know I will keep his memory alive, I want other to know he lived, and loved, and sacrificed, and cared.  I like to hear about him from others.  Maybe selfish, but it helps me connect to the little bits I might have learned from him over a beer or sitting on a beach together.  And sorry if I make you uncomfortable but it is important to me.
  2. Grief is an extension of love. As with the love of your child, the grief is forever – – no ‘moving on’ or ‘pain will fade with time.’  I am faced with daily visions of what he would be, what his family would look like, how they would be part of us in the future.  How can I not grieve that?  We are blest that we are close to Amanda and she shares her life with us and we love her all the more for that.
  3. You can never fill the hole – so do not try to help me do that. We are blessed with friends and family who still cry with us and laugh with us when we talk about Chris.  I have Nate, my son-in-law, who ‘gets it.’  He is a strong man of faith, a core part of our family, and perfect for Meredith.  Not sure I would have ‘got it’ at 32.
  4. I did not ask to be a member of this club but I have met some great people who do great things because they were inducted too. In the face of loss, it is amazing to see people who step up and find a way to change the world – one step at a time.  Grief as an extension of love provides a powerful force doing good for others.

So, April 26 will still have that empty chair at the table and my birthday and our anniversary will be hard because Chris is gone.

60 – So three days later, on April 29, I will move into the next decade of life.   I cannot count the number of people who have blessed my life – Gayle, Meredith, Chris, Nate, Amanda, Jeremy, Paul, Kim, Larry, Jennifer and her family, Lynne and her family, Michael and his family, teachers, friends, colleagues, coworkers, pastors, etc.

  1. Each person is unique and adds color and fullness to your life – – – and you are not guaranteed to ever see them again.  Cherish each moment.
  2. My faith was nurtured as a child, strengthened as an adult, and occasionally tested. My God did not change, I did.
  3. It is just a number – key is what did you do with it. Do not live with regrets.

“So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.” Seneca

35 – fabulous, wonderful, challenging, love-filled years.  May 2 will mark our 35th wedding anniversary.  Would I do it all again with Gayle?  You betcha (that is from our years in Eau Claire, WI).

  1. Perfect is for crazy people – and maybe we are crazy and I know we work like crazy to make it as perfect as possible
  2. I tend to be a loner but what a lonely journey this would have been without Gayle.
  3. Not sure of the number we will get to add but look forward to every one of them.

And that is the week we will have from 26 April to 2 May.

Bring it on!