It’s Veterans day and people are doubting our next generation as they take to the streets, burning the American, flag, seeking grief counseling, and getting permission slips to miss class to cope with election day defeat. Despite that, I’m not doubting our next generation, not for a second.
I feel like I am well connected with our next generation. In my duty as an Air Force broadcaster I am fortunate enough to tell the stories of the fine Airmen of the Air Force Reserves. It’s the Senior Airman who I meet on a daily basis whose passion for the Nation and colleagues leaves me awestruck and humbled. Their deeds far outweigh those that flip trash cans and toss Molotov cocktail at the police. I recently attended military broadcasting school and in my class there were prior service students and ‘pipeliners,’ those straight out of basic training. They were raw in life experience but their talent, work ethic, and respect was undeniable.
It’s not just on the military end of things I see a bright future. Here in Geneseo we have two SUNY Geneseo students who were elected to the Village Board of Trustees, Matthew Cook and Mary Rutigliano. They are doing an impressive job. They attend all meetings while managing a hectic college schedule. On top of that, they bring creative ideas and a new energy to the Village Board. At last week’s Village Board meeting, Mayor Dick Hatheway stated to Trustee Cook to be sure not to leave paperwork, ‘On top of a keg somewhere.’ Trustee Cook let the potshot go. The comment was totally unnecessary and disrespectful. Trustee Cook was a class act and brushed it off, and I respect that. We also see students serve as volunteer firefighters and help countless others in our community. With students like those serving our community, it’s hard for me to doubt our future.
For me most importantly is the work ethic of our Editor in Chief, Conrad Baker, former intern and now co-owner of the GeneseeSun.com. I am a workaholic and he puts my dedication to shame. He’s the son of a first generation Iranian immigrant and his dad grew up a country boy from Western New York. Conrad grew up on Grand Island, a lover of nature, and a conservationist. The son of diversity, raised with respect and great values, he awoke in the early morning hours trapping coyotes, balancing the local ecosystem. I would not be able to serve our nation without Conrad’s sacrifice of what he does at the Sun. So on Veterans Day I salute him and all the others that sacrifice in support of those that serve.
So my message to those devastated by the outcome of this election: get it out of your system. Burn, loot, cry, guess what? None of that is going to make a difference. You know what will make a difference? Get motivated and take responsible civic action. Seek out your peers who did not vote. Inspire them to get involved. This nation is a magnificent collection of immigrants who have made great sacrifices for us to have survived to this point. This nation is loaded with fine young Americans ready to strike down those who attack us. If you are upset, use your anger and frustration as a motivator.
The other option is, don’t do a thing. Go back to life as it was and let those who are taking action lead and do so as they see fit.
To all of my friends who serve today, thank you. And to those who have served before us, it’s an honor to continue with the legacy of service that you have so honorably built. We would not be here today without your sacrifices. I am humbled to wear the uniform and I do so to uphold our legacy as a nation and to honor those who served before me.