We have lost a true American hero and patriot who’s love of country drove his life’s work. Often stubborn and intemperate, he was also filled with compassion, purpose clarity and courage.
Below are remarks from a speech he gave — they are such a moving description of America; a land and ideal we should all honor, live and cherish.
Part of his speech on receiving the 2017 Liberty Medal for his lifetime of sacrifice and service to the nation:
“Some years ago, I was present at an event where an earlier Liberty Medal recipient spoke about America’s values and the sacrifices made for them. It was 1991, and I was attending the ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The World War II veteran, estimable patriot and good man, President George H.W. Bush, gave a moving speech at the USS Arizona memorial. I remember it very well. His voice was thick with emotion as he neared the end of his address. I imagine he was thinking not only of the brave Americans who lost their lives on December 7, 1941, but of the friends he had served with and lost in the Pacific where he had been the Navy’s youngest aviator.
“’Look at the water here, clear and quiet …’ he directed, ‘One day, in what now seems another lifetime, it wrapped its arms around the finest sons any nation could ever have, and it carried them to a better world.’
“He could barely get out the last line, ‘May God bless them, and may God bless America, the most wondrous land on earth.’
“The most wondrous land on earth, indeed. I’ve had the good fortune to spend sixty years in service to this wondrous land. It has not been perfect service, to be sure, and there were probably times when the country might have benefited from a little less of my help. But I’ve tried to deserve the privilege as best I can, and I’ve been repaid a thousand times over with adventures, with good company, and with the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself, of being a bit player in the extraordinary story of America. And I am so very grateful.
“What a privilege it is to serve this big, boisterous, brawling, intemperate, striving, daring, beautiful, bountiful, brave, magnificent country. With all our flaws, all our mistakes, with all the frailties of human nature as much on display as our virtues, with all the rancor and anger of our politics, we are blessed.
“We are living in the land of the free, the land where anything is possible, the land of the immigrant’s dream, the land with the storied past forgotten in the rush to the imagined future, the land that repairs and reinvents itself, the land where a person can escape the consequences of a self-centered youth and know the satisfaction of sacrificing for an ideal, the land where you can go from aimless rebellion to a noble cause, and from the bottom of your class to your party’s nomination for president.
“We are blessed, and we have been a blessing to humanity in turn. The international order we helped build from the ashes of world war, and that we defend to this day, has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. This wondrous land has shared its treasures and ideals and shed the blood of its finest patriots to help make another, better world. And as we did so, we made our own civilization more just, freer, more accomplished and prosperous than the America that existed when I watched my father go off to war on December 7, 1941.
“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.
“We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.
“I am the luckiest guy on earth. I have served America’s cause – the cause of our security and the security of our friends, the cause of freedom and equal justice – all my adult life. I haven’t always served it well. I haven’t even always appreciated what I was serving. But among the few compensations of old age is the acuity of hindsight. I see now that I was part of something important that drew me along in its wake even when I was diverted by other interests. I was, knowingly or not, along for the ride as America made the future better than the past.
“And I have enjoyed it, every single day of it, the good ones and the not so good ones. I’ve been inspired by the service of better patriots than me. I’ve seen Americans make sacrifices for our country and her causes and for people who were strangers to them but for our common humanity, sacrifices that were much harder than the service asked of me. And I’ve seen the good they have done, the lives they freed from tyranny and injustice, the hope they encouraged, the dreams they made achievable.
“May God bless them. May God bless America, and give us the strength and wisdom, the generosity and compassion, to do our duty for this wondrous land, and for the world that counts on us. With all its suffering and dangers, the world still looks to the example and leadership of America to become, another, better place. What greater cause could anyone ever serve.
“Thank you again for this honor. I’ll treasure it.”
Sen. John McCain
Contact email@example.com to order.
Sale ends October 1, 2018
(Sale prices are not available on our online store.)
Blue Courage recognizes your hard work and dedication to living and spreading the Blue Courage philosophy. Your support and commitment is truly a gift to our team. We would like to show our gratitude with a September Sales Event to help you with your efforts toward making a difference in the lives of others!
Developed for all levels of the organization, the Blue Courage 2- day course will touch hearts, awaken minds, and deepen commitments to the nobility of your profession. (Available for law enforcement, corrections/detention, and civilian attendees.)
For use with the Blue Courage: The Heart and Mind of the Guardian course.
1 guidebook free for every 10 purchased. (Available to certified Blue Courage instructors only.)
Capture thoughts, reminders, or notes in our elegant journal.
1 journal free for every 10 purchased.
A handy tool for reflection.
1 mirror free for every 10 purchased.
A reminder for living the Blue Courage philosophy daily.
1 coin free for every 15 purchased.
An elegant 3-D pin to display anywhere.
1 pin free for every 10 purchased.
Soft and warm for the holiday season.
10% off, while supplies last!
Comfortable and professional shirt for any occasion.
10% off, while supplies last!
This peer to peer card deck is a unique and vital opportunity designed to provide you with a resource to navigate and reflect on the path of the
10% off, while supplies last!
Unleash the Hero Within! Wise words to ponder from Michael Nila, founder of Blue Courage.
improvingpolice May 8, 2018
From time to time, I get the opportunity to talk to today’s cops about today’s problems. With one foot still in the “culture,” and the other foot in the community, I think I have a perspective that could be helpful as to what’s going on and what needs to be done.
For example, at one meeting a young African-American woman (a correctional officer) explained how her husband, a military veteran, was coming out of a store when he was stopped by police, told to get on the ground (in which he wisely complied), handcuffed, taken to the police station, stood in a lineup, and was released two hours later. He was not the suspect police had thought he was.
Now this is not an unfamiliar story among American blacks. She stated this incident still leaves her angry because the police did not apologize.
Listening to this story were a number of police officers. One officer questioned the lady as to why there should be an apology. “The police did nothing wrong. They lawfully detained your husband because they reasonably and legally believed was a suspect. When their investigation revealed he was not the person they wanted, they released him. They did nothing wrong!”
“But they should have apologized!” she argued.
“Why?” the officer responded, “They did nothing wrong!”
Well, that’s it. That’s the rut, the loop, in which I find many conversations going between police and people of color.
Continue reading here.
To our law enforcement family,
In light of the line-of-duty deaths of our colleagues over the last two weeks, the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s VALOR Program offers our profound condolences to the families and agencies who have lost loved ones. We share in your grief.
We recognize that the law enforcement profession is inherently dangerous. Just in 2018 alone, firearms-related law enforcement deaths are up 133%, a tragic and concerning statistic. Yet, your work as law enforcement officers continues. Day in and day out, you provide invaluable public safety services to your communities, regardless of what happens to one of your own.
Your safety is of paramount importance to your family, your agency, and to the BJA VALOR Program. This safety starts before you even put your feet on the ground to prepare for your shift.
It seems that this is a good time to share a few considerations about your safety and wellness.
Happy Birthday to Blue Courage! It has been an honor to serve you all, and we look forward to many more years together!
“Innovation is not the result of chance. It is the result of action. It is not a thing we wait for, it is a thing we do.”
The phone rang. My nerves suddenly seemed to explode, as I had just finished an important team call where, for the first time, I took the lead role. On the other end of the phone was my mentor, my leader, my inspiration – who was also my boss. “How did the call with the team go? Did you fire them up? Did you come up with a plan?” Big questions!
A plan! What was our plan going to be? My answer was a long-winded one, debriefing how our team call went. What I thought would be a short debrief call turned into a much needed and very appreciated mentoring session, filled with a lot of golden nuggets of wisdom and inspiration.
We all need some great mentoring and coaching from time to time, no matter our title, responsibilities, or role. We also all need constant inspiration, which if we pay close attention, can be found anywhere. Together, mentoring and inspiration can walk a person down a path to something huge – a game changing idea or plan. Ironically, that very night after speaking with my boss, I found some inspiration and wisdom in an unlikely place – my son’s martial arts class at the Las Vegas Kung Fu Academy, where the very topic of success and planning was discussed.
That night, after some warm up exercises, the instructor taught the students the “Black Belt Success Cycle.” As I sat there and listened to the lesson, I quickly began to gain interest in the conversation as I realized that this “Success Cycle” could really be applied to anything. This “Success Cycle” can effectively help me realize my personal and professional goals, as well as any organizational goals that might be driven by the team. It starts with knowing exactly what you want, absolute clarity, and having the end goal in mind. From there, if certain steps of the cycle are followed, you slowly make your way to your end goal as the cycle repeats. The bottom line is, you cannot go anywhere if you first don’t know where you are going.
As I reflected on my day, I realized that I had all of the starting pieces of the “Success Cycle;” I just needed to lay them all out into this model. I realized that I knew what I wanted success to look like for the team. The team discussed a possible plan to get there. My boss was my success coach, my mentor. Now, from that point on, what will be required to meet our goal is continuous and deliberate action. The team must act on our plan, assess our step by step goals, review our progress, and adjust our plan as necessary. As a wise man once said, “Ideation without execution is delusion!” The whole idea behind the “Success Cycle” is dependent on first knowing what you want, then having the discipline and the courage to act on it! So ask yourself, what are you waiting for? Success is yours to have – go get it!
“What separates the icons and legends from the ordinary performers is the level of depth and rigor of their knowledge and commitment.”
Founder of Blue Courage
Have you ever heard of Stone Soup? It doesn’t sound very tasty – yet the reviews from nay sayers were raving of it’s scrumptious flavors once tasted! This video explains the short story of how inspiration, curiosity, and people contributing key ingredients can make a desired and satisfying result.
by S.L. Parker
This quick read discusses how one degree can make a huge difference. “At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train.” That extra degree can mean the difference between something hot and something with enough power and force that can make a tremendous difference.
A short, 20-minute read, this book provides inspiration and statistics to encourage your thinking as to how and where you can apply an extra degree of heat, creating monumental results. Just one degree more of practice, effort, passion, engagement…if all done consistently at one degree higher can help lead to the difference between good and great – the difference between knowing and mastering your craft. This book provokes your thought and challenges your courage for execution.
Click here to purchase this book.
“Learning without application means nothing.” This is application, reflection, putting content to learning, being aware of being unaware…so much of what we speak about for three days in our Inclusive Leadership class is reflected in Jane’s story below. We may not all be as great and creative and fun of a writer, but we do all have these moments where we can apply the theory of Inclusive Leadership…a story shared is powerful because what we share we deepen!
On my drive home Saturday, I was a barrel-o-monkeys of emotions. What the heck just happened? How was I going to be better? How would I make sure that my energy would follow good thoughts?
On any given day, I get home and I am greeted by AJ and Indy. No, not my family but my two love-hungry, shelter-rescued pups. AJ always wags his tail hard enough to power a water plant. Lookout or the half-lab-half-whippet will, simply, whip ya good. And Indy – the 60-pound bully – is really a mushball. She will rise on her hind legs, ever-so-gingerly, and turn just as you embrace her and back into you. She wants her hug. She will stand for as long as you want and nuzzle as long as you are willing to give her the love. When you say enough or “go play”, they both return to their chew bones or will go romp and frolic outside.
I tell you this not to dote on my dogs, but because I had a revelation shortly after getting home yesterday.
You see I got home, I gave my love to the pups, said hello and then, I had to turn right back around and take my daughter to a dance class. The studio is only two minutes away from the house, by car, so I am back home in less than 7 or 8 minutes or so.
When I walked back in the door, I received the same exact greeting that I had gotten just minutes earlier.
So, my revelation was this: shouldn’t we always have that “dog-like” enthusiasm to return to our teams; shouldn’t we have it when we meet with management; shouldn’t we maintain it when we get in front of our customers; heck, shouldn’t we have it when our spouses walk in the door?
I realized the greeting was always the same. It is the “Oh-my-gosh! You’re back! You’re back! I’m so excited you’re here…. Now you can pay attention to me” attitude. Over and over again. Without hesitation.
Shouldn’t we have dog-like enthusiasm for our daily work?
Shouldn’t we have dog-like loyalty to our [insert “customers”, “leaders”, “constituents” here]?
Shouldn’t we have dog-like “unconditionality”? Shouldn’t we just want to lick our master’s face in appreciation? (And by master, I mean our significant others, not the manager or our immediate supervisor. That would just be weird.)
I think so. *And if you don’t have dogs, maybe this is all lost on you. OR if you’re a cat-person, well… this would be an entirely different story. We would be discussing cat-like ambivalence, cat-like solitude and cat-like mischief.
Jane Lanahan Decker
City of Doral, FL
“The mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty; from the Latin “cor “– heart.*
Courage, of course, is what every police officer wants and aspires. Without it, a police officer cannot do his or her duties and will not be accepted by others in the ranks.
But what is often forgotten is that courage is more than running toward gunshots while everyone else runs away from them — and it is more than checking out a dark building on an even-darker night. Yes, courage is physical bravery, but courage is also five other actions in the face of danger that are just as important for a 21st century police officer.
Read more by clicking here, or at the link below.
Can we be as big or bigger than this moment or will the moment swallow us up because we are not willing to rise up, fight to remain standing and meet this moment with the full force and fury of our fearless conviction?
Rise up with no expectation but fueled with hope for what might be, for what is possible. Some call that a fairy tale and say it in a way that screams of foolishness – I prefer the power of believing what people of courage, hope and humility can create together. I prefer to march boldly in the direction of my dreams rather than to shrink in the shadows of my circumstances.
Many say “but I am damaged goods” – news flash — we are ALL damaged! Damaged deeply by our yesterdays, by our mistakes and misjudgments, by the others who, because of their smallness and weakness, have left scars and imprints on our soul. I refuse to let my yesterday determine my today and tomorrow. I refuse to allow the smallest people in my life to be more powerful influences on me than the amazing people who have gifted me by their presence in my life. I refuse to allow my scars, memories, and pain to be anything more than fuel for who I can become and for my happiness, health and well-being.
So I can say what I want, or say nothing; I can choose to act, to DO something or choose to do nothing – but can I strive to be as big or bigger than “this moment?” That IS my challenge. What I choose in this moment will shape my forever! “What is this moment asking of me?”
Choice: Life gives us choice; it does not give us a crystal ball. Choice does not give us certainty and control — it gives us a chance; a choice to roll the dice! A choice and chance to play or turn away because one outcome is that I might lose. But if I don’t even play, I have no chance to win! I always hear people say, “I don’t know how to play,” but there’s only one way to learn to play and that is by getting into the game. Make 2018 the year we all say, “Yes! I am all in!”
90-Second Stress Buster!
We all experience various levels of stress throughout the day. As we know stress is neither good or bad, it is our response to the moments that determine their impact on us emotionally and physically. As stressful situations occur – a difficult conversation, a conflict with another individual, a project deadline, an argument with a family member, the traffic in the morning’s commute – these experiences build upon each other. Cortisol, the fight or flight hormone builds rather than dissipates, and this can be toxic to your health while negatively affecting those around you. Taking a moment to quiet your mind, and interrupt the pattern of stressful thoughts gives you emotional space allowing you to reset your attitude, actions, and reactions. Our 90-second stress buster is a tool to help you combat the stresses of the day.
The legendary All Blacks rugby team of New Zealand is one of the world’s most successful sporting teams. How do they accomplish this challenging feat of being one of the best sports teams year after year? What are their secrets for success? This book is an intriguing and inspirational read for all leaders and team members. It takes dedication and hard work from everyone on the team to continually be successful at the highest levels of the game. Individual and team efforts in ownership, leadership, and accountability can help to turn vision into action, with purposeful practice to achieve desired results.
“Legacy” shares valuable leadership and life mastery lessons necessary for success in today’s advancing world. The All Blacks rugby team began to face challenges and struggles, leading to a complete cultural overhaul. Key leadership on the team began to realize that there are certain aspects crucial to the continuous success of the team, for example:
This book is filled with great wisdom and learning that leads to success, and ultimately leads to an outstanding legacy. Anyone of influence should add this book to their “must read” list.
Purchase the book: click here.
Subscribe to our Daily Dose of Blue Courage to receive daily quotes of inspiration. Click here.
Subscribe to our Learn, Share, Grow series where we share short lessons that we discover from articles, videos, and blogs. Click here.