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"A Reminder of What We Can Be"

March 30, 2015

On February 22, 2015, a group of talented American heroes met together for the first time in decades to celebrate an American victory, a sports victory during a times crisis.

The turbulent late 1970’s revealed the depth of distrust and lack of confidence Americans felt.  We’d lost world respect among allies.  We suffered the humiliating feelings from the defeats in Vietnam; Richard Nixon’s resigning the Presidency over issues of trust, inflation, 20+% interest rates, long gas lines, high unemployment rates and the progress of communism extending tyranny.

The circumstances of the 1979, sent President Jimmy Carter to Camp David where he wrote “Crisis of Confidence.”  In it he said, “The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America. … We've always had a faith that the days of our children would be better than our own. For the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe that the next five years will be worse than the past five years.” His words made little difference in how Americans felt. 

1980 was an Olympic Year, the winter games held at Lake Placid.  The Americans sent a team of young college hockey players; the Russians – four time gold mentalists -- sent their best including the world’s best goalie.  The American coach, Herb Brooks, used usual tactics in preparing his team.  Miraculous results followed.  In the preliminary round, the Americans tied the Swedes 2-2 with a goal in the last 30 seconds; they beat the world’s second best team, Czechoslovakia 7-3, then Norway 5-1, Romania 7-2, and West Germany 4-2, setting up a match in the Round-Robin Finals against the USSR.
On February 22, American spirits were high.  Their team answered every Russian score throughout the first period.  In the second, the Russians added one late. In the third, the American would accomplish something no one else for four Olympics had, responding by scoring two goals, out skating and holding the Russian goalless to a win. As the end approached, Al Michaels remarked “11 seconds, you've got 10 seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?! YES!!!” After the final buzzer, Herb Brooks sprinted to the locker room and cried.  Of the match, “Sports Illustrated selected the team's victory over the Soviet Union en route to winning the gold medal as the No. 1 sports moment of the 20th century.” The Americans won the final match and gold metal 4-2 against the Fins, coming from behind in every match.

What Carter valiantly tried with words to accomplish, twenty remarkable young men did with deeds.  American confidence grew.  It was more than a sporting event. Whether in sports, government, business, or education, our world is shaped by such uncommon leaders.  

We honor these remarkable Americans: Craig, Janaszak, Morrow, Ramsey, Baker, O’Callahan, McClanahan, Christian, Harrington, Schneider, Strobel, Verchota, Johnson, Broten, Christoff, Pavelich, Eruzione, Suter, Patrick, and Brooks, not only for their accomplishments on the ice, but also the way they rekindled the American spirit.

Today we seek leaders who can rekindle that same spirit, renew our optimism, and draw us together in furthering the goals of liberty and freedom throughout our nation.

Mark Mansius, Bill Sargent, and John Gay