Archives For The American Patriot’s Almanac

Recently a friend shared about the disappointment of being passed over for a promotion. In addition, he was removed off of a key project thus feeling a setback in his career. Our friends spent time encouraging him and letting him know he was not alone. I as well have felt similar setback in my life.

I was reading through The American Patriot’s Almanac the other day and scanning key events of Abraham Lincoln’s life. It was interesting to study his life’s major events.

  • 1832: Elected captain of an Illinois militia company
  • 1832: Defeated for state legislature
  • 1833: Failed in business
  • 1833: Appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois
  • 1834: Elected to state legislature
  • 1834: Sweetheart died
  • 1836: Received license to practice law in Illinois
  • 1838: Defeated for Speaker of the Illinois House
  • 1841: Suffered deep depression
  • 1842: Married Mary Todd
  • 1844: Established his own law practice
  • 1846: Elected to U.S. Congress
  • 1849: Failed to get appointment to US. Land Office
  • 1850: Four-year old son died
  • 1855: Defeated for U.S. Senate
  • 1857: Earned large attorney fee in a successful case
  • 1858: Again defeated for Senate
  • 1860: ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

I noticed a few things. Lincoln’s life was full of ups and downs. It reveals the ebb and flow of life and we cannot expect everything to work out perfectly. What we do learn is that Lincoln kept moving forward no matter how many setbacks. His failures made him a better, stronger person that was able to never give up.

LincolnSomber

Lincoln said,

“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep doing so until the end.”

Galatians 6:9 offers additional encouragement,

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

By studying people I admire the most like Lincoln, I discover their great failures and tragedies.

  • King David of the Bible committed adultery
  • George Washington experienced military setback after setback during the American Revolution
  • C.S. Lewis lost his mother when he was young and was passed over at Oxford for promotions for years
  • Winston Churchill experienced a military disaster at Gallipoli in World War I
  • John F. Kennedy’s PT boat was demolished and was injured in World War II
  • George H.W. Bush lost a daughter to leukemia
  • J.K. Rowling was on the verge of homelessness

When I feel letdown, lose something or someone, or wonder why something didn’t go my way I am drawn to these great lives for inspiration.

They all shared adversity. Most importantly, they shared perseverance and all kept moving forward.

Summer is traditionally a time to be outdoors and enjoy time with friends and family. It can also be a time to huddle on the couch later at night to enjoy some humorous, adventurous and patriotic movies. When I think about summer, I am filled with wonderful memories. Often these memories are intertwined with movies that mirror my experiences and inspire and make me laugh today.

For the first three years of my career I marketed and sold movies to Parks and Recreation departments around the nation to show to their community. It was always fun to create summer movie schedules that would help bring people together at their local parks. Over those years there have been many movies that have stood out among the rest. This list is compiled of movies that personally have meant a lot to me and I hope you will enjoy them this summer too. I have chosen not to include animated films in this list and have arranged these by topic as well as individual movies.

1. The Great Outdoors (1988)

Nothing says summer vacation like an upper midwest lake house trip with John Candy and Dan Aykroyd.

2. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

Only the most dedicated dad like Clark Griswold wouldn’t let a dead Aunt Edna ruin their pilgrimage to Walley World. This is by far one of the funniest prayers you will ever hear.

3. Stand by Me (1986)

Some of the finest moments in life can be found around a campfire and debating what kind of animal or person Goofy is. Good story, Vern. It is also hard to imagine how Stephen Kind could have written such a poignant coming of age story from the 1950s.

4. The Goonies (1985)

If you grew up in the 80s there was no way to miss The Goonies. There are only a few who are able to  direct such great comedies with kids. Richard Donner and Steven Spielberg created a 1980s masterpiece. “Goonies never say die.”

5. Baseball movies: Sandlot (1993), The Natural (1994), Pride of the Yankees (1942) and Field of Dreams (1994)

From Sandlot, there is no better insult from back in the day than “You play ball like a girl.”

One of the finest endings to a baseball movie ever and the memorable soundtrack creates Roy Hobbs to become a legend. “Go pick me out a winner, Bobby”

You don’t have to be a Yankee fan to appreciate Lou Gehrig’s speech. “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

In the conclusion to Field of Dreams, there is no man who will not cry after watching this scene.

6. Golf: Tin Cup (1986) and Caddyshack (1980)

Roy McAvoy played by Kevin Costner is full with outlandish challenges on the golf course. “Did you ever shoot par with a 7-iron?”

If you have ever played golf, there is little chance that you didn’t hear someone mimicking Bill Murray saying ,”Cinderella story, outta nowhere about to become the Masters Champion.”

7. Beach: One Crazy Summer (1986),  Weekend at Bernie’s (1989), and Jaws (1975)

If you ever want revenge on rich islanders, send in Godzilla.

I’ve always loved Weekend at Bernie’s because for years we have vacationed in Bald Head Island, where this was filmed.

Roy Scheider’s line, “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” is one of the most quoted lines in movie history. Jaws defined what a summer beach blockbuster looks like.

8. Camping: Meatballs (1979)White Water Summer (1987)

Along with John Belushi’s epic motivational speech in Animal House, Bill Murray matches it here in Meatballs.

“Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” serves as an extreme outdoor guide who brings a group of four city boys to survive the wilderness.

9. Military: Glory (1989) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989), John Adams HBO Miniseries (2008), and The Patriot (2000)

This campfire scene prior to the battle to take Fort Wagner is one of the most beautiful and emotional scenes showing the spirit of the colored 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

Although a controversial movie, it is perhaps Tom Cruise’s finest performance. “People say that if you don’t love America, then get the hell out. Well, I love America.” 

In the epic HBO miniseries based on David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, John Adams, Paul Giamatti plays our founding father and in this scene, he shares his perspective on the declaration of independence.

Essentially this movie is “Braveheart-American style” but still an enjoyable depiction of The Revolutionary War in the South.

10. Armageddon (1998) and  Independence Day (1996)

To round-out the summer films the 1990s brought a slew of space-apocalyptic films. There is nothing better than this astronaut evaluation scene in Armageddon.

Despite this being a science fiction film, this is by far one of the finest American President speeches. Even historian Bill Bennett refers to this in his book The American Patriot’s Almanac.

Honorable mention: Dirty Dancing, Forrest Gump, What about Bob?, Beach Blanket Bingo, Endless Summer, Splash, Step Into Liquid, Summer Rental, and Roman Holiday.

What are your favorite summer movies? 

You had to have been hiding under a rock or not care to notice but this past week a big election occurred here in the United Staes.  However you feel about the outcome there is no doubt that there were clear priorities set forth by politicians.  You heard about the economy and tea, health care and death panels, as well as immigration and Mexican drug lords.

What you didn’t hear much about is that there are still troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan not to mention a presence in areas like Germany, South Korea, Okinawa, or Guantanamo Bay.

Why do we forget so quickly?   Let us honor the military by studying what works so well for them so we can find ways to solve problems in our own unique situations.

I recently picked up a copy of the Harvard Business Review primarily because of the cover story about “Leadership Lessons from The Military”.  Here are the key learnings:

According to a 2009 Gallup poll, 82% of respondents expressed “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the military, whereas only 16% expressed confidence in big business.  There have been some tremendous leaders in our history that came from a military background.  Let us not forget Presidents George Washington, Harry Truman, or Dwight Eisenhower and the leadership lessons they gave us based on their military experiences.  Of course there have been poor military leaders so we can learn from their mistakes as well.  General Petraeus, we are learning from you.

In the article, there were some helpful elements that those church, community and business leaders can utilize to be effective with your teams.

1.  Meet the troops: Create a personal link that will be crucial to lead people through challenging times.

2.  Make Decisions: Make good and timely calls which will be the crux of responsibility in a leadership position.

3.  Focus on Mission: Establish a common purpose, lift up those who will help you achieve it, and eschew personal gain.

4.  Convey Strategic Intent: Make the objectives clear, but avoid micromanaging those who will execute on them.

November 11th is Veteran’s Day. What is different about this day?  Well the idea is to celebrate and thank those who are still alive but have served.  It was originally known as Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I.  It is different than Memorial Day because we have the chance to honor these people in person. There are over 23 million veterans of the US Military so plenty to honor.

What will you do to honor veterans this week?

*I am giving out 2 signed copies of The American Patriot’s Almanac. I am looking for unique ways that you all are honoring veterans so it is a bit subjective.  For full disclosure, I have worked on the promotions in the past for this book and with Bill Bennett and John Cribb who compiled it.  I would also like to share your stories with them.   The authors have graciously signed copies for veterans within Thomas Nelson.

To learn more about Veteran’s Day, here is an excerpt from The American Patriot’s Almanac (2010) by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb.

In the early morning hours Of November 11, 1918, representatives of France, Britain, and Germany met in a railroad car near Compiègne, France, to sign an armistice ending World War I, or the Great War, as it was known at that time. The cease-fire took effect at 11:00 a.m. that day—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Up and down the trenches, after four long years of the most horrific fighting the world had yet known, the guns fell silent. “The roar stopped like a motor car hitting a wall,” one U.S. soldier wrote to his family. Soldiers on both sides slowly climbed out of the earthworks. Some danced; some cheered; some cried for joy; some stood numbed. The Great War had left some 9 million soldiers dead and another 21 million wounded. No one knows how many millions of civilians died. Much of Europe lay in ruins. But finally, with the armistice, it was “all quiet on the Western Front.”

For many years November 11 was known as Armistice Day to honor those who fought in World War I. In 1954 Congress changed the name to Veterans Day to recognize all American veterans.

Every November 11 at 11:00 a.m., the nation pays tribute to its war dead with the laying of a presidential wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.

But Veterans Day honors more than the dead. Memorial Day, observed in May, is for remembering soldiers who lost their lives in the service of their country. Veterans Day is set aside to honor and thank all who have served in the U.S. armed forces—particularly our 23 million living veterans.

The American Patriot's Almanac: Daily Readings on America