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A Giving of Thanks

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Robert Brescia
November 22, 2020

You probably want to give thanks on Thanksgiving—we all do. Who are you giving thanks to? For what are you giving thanks? Here are my thanks this year (not an exclusive list):

Thanks, Almighty God, for making a world for us to exist in. We also appreciate your patience as we navigate this world, trying to help others and bloom where we are planted. Were it not for You, we would not have a true north, overriding reason to exist, or the hope of something to do when we leave here. Thank you greatly for the guidance you provide to elected and appointed officials, no matter who they are, what political party they are aligned with or any other earthly means of division and separation.

Thank you to my family for being there and making my life a series of high points on a daily basis. In return, I promise to do better to make your lives better in the same measure… uh, as soon as I am done writing this article. My wife and I have been raising one of our grandchildren since nearly his entrance into this world and we thank God for that opportunity. We can see the world through the eyes of this toddler and his wonderment of new things nearly every day.

Thank you, parents, for bringing me into the world and raising me with the values that only the greatest generation could instill. Unity, truth, benevolence towards others and achievement remain high on that list. Thanks for teaching me that life owes me absolutely nothing; everything is about showing up, persevering and working hard for success. They also taught me to help others—especially those in most need. That’s why I serve my local Salvation Army and others in my community. A big oil executive here in the Permian Basin has a personal saying that goes, “If you’ve been blessed, share it.” What a great and simple guideline to live by.

Thank you, Ector County Independent School District and Permian High School (remember Friday Night Lights?) for allowing me to continue serving by teaching 9th graders all about world geography at the rate of six classes a day. They are a creative and energetic group of kids that speak well for Generation Z. As they face daily challenges to their learning such as the current pandemic, they are showing up, persevering, and working hard—remember those values? Thank you, teachers who really care for their students day after day, working for low salaries and putting in many extra hours to prepare those lessons.

Thank you, government public servants who throughout the year go relatively unnoticed in the larger scheme of things. They go about their business in government agencies of all kinds, making sure that the “bosses” are mightily prepared for their press conferences and public appearances. They are often referred to as the “swamp” but I believe that most of them are standing on terra firma, making the entire system work from behind the scenes. If you have worked in Washington, you know this to be true. For example, When I was at the Pentagon, it was very well known that the civilian professionals there were the glue that held the strategy and operations rock-solid throughout the frequent comings and goings of military personnel.

Thank you, Veteran’s Administration, for doing the right thing and for some significant trailblazing over the past couple of years. As a veteran who uses the local VA clinic here in Texas, I consider myself very fortunate indeed that when I go to these I am treated with respect and provided professional service that rivals any other facility I have been to.

Thank you, military services, for allowing me to serve our nation over a long period of time. I cherish the time I spent with you, even though it was not always enjoyable. The tough times taught me about leadership and to appreciate the less-tough times. For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste that the protected will never know.

I want to thank the late Texas Attorney General John Ben Shepperd, whose writing has inspired me greatly. He said this about freedom:

Freedom is old, not young,
It is not a living thing, yet it dies if we do not love it;
It is not weak, yet it must be defended;
It is light, yet it weighs heavy on him who is without it;
It is without price, yet it dearly costs the one who sells it;
It is not small, but great; yet once lost, it is never, never found again.
Yes, to be born free is an accident;
To live free is a responsibility;
But to die free is an obligation.

Thank you, PA Times readers, for taking your valuable time to read these articles that many public servants and others contribute every month. We hope they serve a need in your lives and that they help you in some small way to be all you can be.

Author: Dr. Robert Brescia is a senior executive with service to the nation in military, business, and education. He respects the wisdom of generations, promotes learning, and teaches ethics to university students. Bob’s latest book is Destination Greatness – Creating a New Americanism. Bob has a doctoral degree with distinction in Executive Leadership from The George Washington University. Contact him at [email protected].

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