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Making Wise Choices

Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing columns on important issues for today.


Leadership Means
Being Engaged!

June 17, 2013

By what means, and for what purpose, was our nation founded. History speaks with clarity and understanding.  Unlike what we have seen lately in Washington, the life of our first President, George Washington, is rich in examples which define clear paths of sound solutions.

At the Battle of Fort Duquesne in 1755, Washington, then a Colonial, received four bullets into his clothes, had two horses shot out from under him, yet he remained untouched. After this experience, he became the talk of the local towns. 

Dr. James Craik, a traveling companion of George Washington, retold this experience to a grandson of Martha Washington. Speaking of a campfire meeting, several years after the Battle, an old Native American chief conveyed this message through a translator:

“I am a chief... over many tribes... I have traveled a long and wary path that I might see the warrior [Washington] of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man's blood mixed with the streams... that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young warriors and said, Mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe-he hath an Indian's wisdom... himself alone is exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which but for him knew not how to miss --'twas all in vain; a power mightier far than we shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies--he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire!!”

Shortly before his death, Washington, speaking about his own role in the founding of the nation, said, “I was but a humble agent of favoring Heaven, whose benign interference was so often manifest in our behalf, and to whom the praise of victory alone is due.”   Throughout his entire life, while following his best knowledge and understanding, he lived his role from battle to battle ever being engaged, standing and leading from in front. 

What do we see today?  When Americans were under attack in Benghazi, Libya our “leader” received one briefing and then apparently went to bed.  The next day he hit the campaign trail.  What a contrast! George Washington knew what leadership is and exemplified it.  He was engaged!  In 2001 when the World Trade Center was destroyed, another George was actively engaged in responding.  Then again in the sixties with the Cuban missile crisis, Kennedy was actively “engaged.”  Where is the leadership today that we so desperately need in Washington and throughout our nation?

To all of you, we encourage you in whatever role you hold, lead by example in honesty and courage.  Do what is right regardless of the cost. Don’t be afraid to get out in front, to speak up, and to lead by example as George Washington did.  Be engaged, while also like Washington, seeking the giver of “heavenly gifts” and not the gifts themselves.

Until next week,

Mark, Bill and John