May 30, 2021 Blog

At 3:00 pm local time on Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, a national moment of remembrance will take place. Memorial Day is an American federal holiday since 1971 observed annually on the last Monday in May.  It is intended to honor and mourn those who died while serving in the armed services.  It is very different from Veterans Day which is observed November 11 each year to recognize all those who have served living and dead.  On Memorial Day, do not wish anyone, “Happy Memorial Day” which is not founded in joy with the promise of happiness at Christmas but a day of tradition to recognize and honor those who paid the ultimate price while on duty in the armed services.

Memorial Day began in Waterloo, New York as Decoration Day, an event to honor Union soldiers who died during the Civil War. The Civil War ended in 1865 and by the late 1860s towns and cities had begun holding tributes to those fallen soldiers decorating their grave with flags, flowers and reciting prayers.  Today, we honor our fallen by visiting cemeteries and memorials, attending parades and family gatherings and the wearing of the red poppy. A tradition that began with a World War 1 poem in remembrance of those fallen in war.

The military is built on tradition, customs and manners.  These are the keys to lasting relationships in the armed service.  Customs are regular expected actions to maintain orders and enforce military discipline while traditions are long established beliefs that have been passed on from generation to generation. They both give a sense of continuity upholding morale and instilling pride.

May 23, 2021 Blog

To Graduates of High Schools and Universities, Class of 2021

Thoughts upon “graduation”

The time has come for the cap and gown routine and the last group gathering with your class. I congratulate you.  You got it done.  You saw it through to the end including covid 19 coronavirus. The Graduation Ceremony is near; we are preparing to say “see you later”.  There are no goodbyes. The academic culture has always been family.  No goodbyes, just see you later.

At times the course seemed lengthy and you wondered “will this ever end”?  Sometimes it was dull, routine and even tedious. Other times it was difficult and challenging. Soon you will be far removed from High School and University disciplines of academics, emotional and mental stress, and organization of daily agendas dealing with working part time, social events, and going to college. Or a career.

Before the changing of the venue and before you run off to summer vacation, interviewing for new jobs, final preparation for entering the full-time work force or heading off to college, I am sharing some thoughts to help you continue in the things you have learned.  There are four simple commandments applicable to graduates.

1.  CONTINUE YOUR LEARNING.  It is one thing to complete a course of study and earn a certificate of accomplishment, a diploma or a degree; it is another thing to become a student for the rest of your life, to stay curious, to read widely, to be adventurous and creative and continue on the never ending pursuit of truth.  There is excitement about being around people who are still learning.  They are interesting and resourceful.  Life learners are challenged by the mysteries of life.  They are independent thinkers and are unwilling to be influenced by the majority opinion. This is your beginning into a quest for knowledge never to be satisfied.

2.  REMEMBER YOUR LEADERS.  Stay near and thank the teachers who impacted your life and contributed to your personal and professional growth.  There is something good and helpful about keeping in touch with your mentors, calling to mind the things they modeled, thinking of the benefits of having been the recipient of their wisdom, their reproofs, and their guidance.  The inspiration of a great teacher will go with you forever.

3.  RESPECT YOUR LIFE LEGACY.  You are the product of your past. Your parents and grandparents have shaped you and provided roots for you that attributed to you the reputation and character for a meaningful life with purpose.

4.  ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR CREATOR.  Keep your inner being and energy warm for God. Be leery of those future decisions that come with rigid conditions. Stay away from distractions that distort the Truth.  Stay so close to the flame of His Spirit you can feel His presence.

The admonition for you as a current graduate is do not stop your learning, do not forget your leaders, do not disregard your legacy and never ignore your Lord.


Kenneth Robert O’Neal

Ziglar Legacy Certified Coach and Trainer


Many centuries ago, a woman almost underestimated the power of one. She thought things were too far gone.  She did not think there was anything she could do before all the Jews would be killed. 

The woman’s name was Esther, the Jewish wife of the Persian king. He was the one about to be tricked into making a disastrous decision and exterminate all the Jews. Esther had been adopted and her father realized she alone held the key to the heart of the King. Her adopted father appealed to her conscience and said to her” if you remain silent at this time, you and the house of your father will perish. (Esther 4:14).

Esther listened to his request. He got her attention with his final line “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) That statement convinced her.  Esther broke long standing protocol, marched into the throne room of the king and spoke her mind. Esther and Esther alone rescued the Jews from being killed. One woman, one voice, saved an entire nation.  She was willing to stand in the gap, to get personally involved, to the point of great sacrifice.  Esther stated in 4:16 “If I perish, I perish”.

Esther never thought SOMEONE ELSE SHOULD BE DOING THIS, NOT ME.  SHE DID NOT IGNORE THE NEED BECAUSE OF THE RISK.  Sacrifice is the stuff people who make a difference are made of.    

How much difference can ONE make?

            I am only one, but still, I am one.

            I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something.

          And because I cannot do everything,

           I WILL NOT REFUSE TO DO THE SOMETHING THAT I CAN DO.  (Edward Everett Hale)

Please put aside all excuses and ask yourself.  What should I be doing?

March 6, 1836 – The Alamo

I am not from Texas but I got here as quickly as I could. It was March 6, 1995 the first time I stepped off an airplane onto the tarmac at the San Antonio, Texas airport headed to Lackland Air Force Base.  It brought memories of discussions from U. S. History classes of the red-letter day sunrise, March 6, 1836 at the Alamo.  Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821. The northern state of Texas needed to be populated to cement its hold on a large territory never settled by the Spanish.  In 1830, Americans outnumbered Mexicans 5 to 1 in Mexico. The Mexican Congress prohibited further immigration from the United States in April 1830. The people kept coming and in 1834 Mexico ordered the removal of all illegal settlers and the disarming of Texans. The order was issued by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. In December 1835, a group of Texan volunteers battled the Mexican garrison at the Alamo and captured the fort taking control of San Antonio.  February 23, Santa Ana began to bombard the Alamo. The Commander of the Texan forces, William Travis, on February 24 called on the people of Texas and all Americans to send reinforcements.  In addition, Travis had appealed to Fannin at Goliad to send troops.  On March 3, the bad news came.  There would be no troops coming to help at the Alamo.  59 insurgents on March 3, 1836, convened in Washington on the Brazos and issued the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico.  The final battle on March 6, 1836 began around 5:30 am when some 1100 of Santa Ana’s men attacked and defeated the Alamo.  There were many casualties. Forty-six days after the fall of the Alamo Santa Anna met his match at San Jacinto east of Houston. The day of the attack was a day of infamy. The battle cry became, “Remember the Alamo”.  We have had others, “Remember Pearl Harbor”, “Remember the Maine”, “Remember 9/11”.

Several years ago, I attended a memorial service for a good friend where we were asked by the family to bring reminders of the young man.  There were pictures, letter jacket, baseballs, gloves and an assortment of miscellaneous items.  Each person told the story behind the item and how much it meant to them. Our hearts were moved and there was not a dry eye in the place.  Laughter, tears, smiles, were all mixed together.  

The Alamo should be remembered this way.  WE MUST REMEMBER AND NEVER FORGET.


Nominations to 4 of the 5 federal service academies are difficult to obtain and are required for the application for admission. The U. S. Coast Guard does not require a nomination. Members of Congress are authorized by law to nominate candidates to the U. S. Naval Academy, the U. S. Military Academy, the U. S. Air Force Academy, and the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy. The acceptance rates are as follows:

Navy (9%); Air Force (12%); Army (13%); Merchant Marine (15%); and Coast Guard (16%). 

Many deserving high school seniors have received or will be receiving a letter that will begin this way:

“Dear Service Academy Applicant,

We regret to inform you that Senator XXXX will not be submitting your name as one of his nominees to the United States Service Academy listed as the first choice on your application. The Senator is grateful to you on your willingness to serve our country in such an honorable tradition.” 

The candidates must not allow this rejection letter to identify them.  The letter is an event in their life.  They are disappointed and feel terrible.  Today starts a new day with a new slate to write their journey in life.  There are many opportunities in life and one of them is to reapply next year.  It is all about preparation, planning and implementation.  This is the time for reflection and reality.  Do you have what it takes?  How competitive are you in academics, physical fitness and leadership?

Is the military your goal, desire, and purpose for your life?