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GOD or George Washington: Inspired by Madison "Mad-Dog" Shaw, age 5

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. James Shaw
  • 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron
"Dad, who invented water bottles" an inquisitive 5-year old asks her father.

"Why, Madison, who do you think invented them?"

With all the serious and conviction a 5-year old can muster: "It was either GOD ...or George Washington."

Dad, who invented refrigerators? Who do you think? God or George Washington, this went on for weeks and covered nearly every normal household item. I never asked her why in her kindergartner mind George Washington reigned so supreme, I just found myself enjoying her line of questions.

It wasn't until years later after reading an incredible book on our First General, our First President, and the Father of our nation that I found a new hero. Something my daughter, with all her 5-year old wisdom knew all along, George Washington was one incredible dude.

Then one day during the wing staff meeting Father Tim Butler shared one of his many great quotes, and eloquently wrapped it into his thought of the day. The quote he shared was, "Show me the person you honor, for I know better by that, the kind of person you are." His thoughts of the day always carry a great message, but they sure make me smile when they provoke thoughts about my family. I'm blessed to have two families; my wife, kids, and dogs back home, and my other family, the great bunch of KC-10 crews that spend so much of their lives out here.

"Show me the person you honor, for I know better by that, the kind of person you are." Great words by a long gone Scottish writer/historian/teacher that lived 200 years ago and that still have a powerful meaning today. There are many ways in which we can seek our moral or professional compass. I like to think that I'm a good person; I do the right things even when nobody is watching, and I'm looking out for the wellbeing of others. Something as simple as asking yourself: to whom do you look up to, can help you determine if you are really going down the path in life you had envisioned for yourself.

Tom Brokaw labeled the World War II era as "The Greatest Generation." Recently General David Petraeus, while addressing an audience of young veterans called today's warrior "The New Greatest Generation." Our forefathers of World War II put their lives on hold to defeat fascism throughout the world, and were then able to return home to their pre-war lives and pick up where they had left off. Our "Greatest Generation" has made this endeavor our lives, and it is because of that sacrifice that I say to you: "You are the people I honor."

I honor you because of your sacrifice, your commitment, and your dedication to a higher cause. We are a cut-above the rest of society, we have the highest standards and expectations for those who have earned entry into our family. We have a mission to accomplish, rules and orders to follow, and we execute them unwaveringly.

I guess that Father Tim knows what he is doing with his thought of the week, because his words combined with those from my daughter have given me a compass that helps guide me today.

I'm really happy that my daughter didn't give credit for all the things we have in our lives to Lindsey Lohan or Brittney Spears!