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As I write this, I’m preparing for a visit my youngest son who's flying in from the Washington DC area. We’ll celebrate the 4th with some baseball, fireworks, and maybe even a slice of apple pie (sorry I don't drive a Chevrolet for those of you that remember that old ad campaign). I just heard on the early morning news about the latest terrorist attacks and new casualties in Afghanistan. Memorial Day is already a faint memory. I’ll be sure to ask my son if he’s registered to vote in Maryland where he lives.

I’ve been pretty active in my community; even served a term as Sioux City’s Mayor ProTem (Vice Mayor). I’m still involved in some campaigns and I’m always amazed to run into so many people who don’t take the time to vote. Our country is filled with people with life altering injuries from 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s filled with families without parents and spouses. I can’t imagine the number of permanently disabled veteran’s after World War II. I just got back from a trip with several vets. I am moved by their service, and would be ashamed if I did not take advantage of the right to vote. Last fall we had a chance to travel to Normandy. We saw Omaha and Utah beaches and the American cemetery. It was a very moving experience to walk the sands where so much American blood was spilled. Clichés often sound trite, but one that never does is “Freedom isn’t Free”.

Dad served as an airplane mechanic in Texas during the Korean War. To be honest, he was not fond of that time, but he was proud of it. I remember the stories and the photographs. In the corner of my basement is one of his few remaining possessions, his footlocker with his uniforms. I keep the lid open, and it constantly reminds me of his service far from home where he wanted to be. I’m proud of Dad.

My longtime business partner Brian has served for 20 years and is an officer in the Guard. Over the years I’ve often selfishly thought we could sure use more of Brian’s time and talent at the office. I’m guessing his wife and family probably missed him a bit too. Brian took over my job as CEO when I stepped back. I’m proud of Brian and his family for their sacrifice.

Most of us are thoroughly disturbed by the state of politics in this country. I don’t suppose we’ve been more polarized anytime since the Civil War. I’m sure tired of all the statements saying what’s wrong with this Country. I’d encourage all of us to focus on what’s right with this Country, and be thankful we can speak openly without a government controlled message and media.

I’m privileged to travel a lot with Extra Touch Tours and see lots of interesting places here in the US, and all around the world. In the end, I can tell you there is no place like home, and we still live in the greatest nation on earth thanks to our veterans. If you’re a veteran, thank you! Thank You! Thank You!

Celebrate our freedom on the 4th, but never miss a chance to celebrate with your vote. The price was very, very high!

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