Today is the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Prior to September 11th, 2001, this was the day of the most deaths of Americans on our own soil. An official day of remembering, we honor lives lost and families who lost loved ones. This week the country also mourns the death of our 41st president, George H.W. Bush. The news of his death was broadcast late last Friday evening, and the entire weekend and past week was subsequently characterized by reflection, looking back on his life and legacy. Not a political “junkie,” this past week I learned a lot about “41” as I heard all about his life of service, his accomplishments and the values that shaped his legacy and our country.
While we all may not agree with many of President Bush’s policies, we can look back on a leader who cared deeply about his country, and understood the importance of compromise, coalition-building and respect. Some of the words and phrases that stand out for me during this week’s coverage, include: Youngest pilot in the Navy; Flew 58 combat missions; Shot down and rescued by a submarine; Married 73 years; Lost a daughter, Robin at age 3 to leukemia. President Bush experienced many losses--runs for Senate, the presidential nomination in 1980, and a second term as President in 1992. A class act, his niceness was interpreted by many as weakness.Yet he was a man of toughness, fiber, courage, prudence, character and faith. He simply was not afraid to show tears or tenderness. The last of the “greatest generation,” he served the country with ideals, and he strove for a kinder, gentler nation.
It’s the holiday season. For Catholics, it is Advent, a time of darkness and anticipation of the coming of our Saviour’s birth. A new year on the liturgical calendar. It is a time of watching, waiting and preparation; quite different from the frenzy of shopping, gift giving and partying. It is a time to prepare for what is to come.
I may be going out on a limb here, but I’ve decided to use remembering as the backdrop, to ask you to reflect on your own new year, your values and behavior. How do you live each day? How do you go about managing your employees? Are you teaching your children values in your actions as well as your words? How will you be remembered? Please ponder and reflect on these questions and If you feel comfortable enough, please share with me.