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"The Age of Freedom Continues..."

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 January 2018

Last Updated 17 January 2018

 

 


Introduction:

 

This 4th of July, stand TALL among family and friends with a genuine feeling of American pride. Support the cause of freedom by giving a small donation to any of the four Freedom’s Light Program charities which include: Fisher House, Tuesday’s Children, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the USO by going to www.freedomslight.org .

 

For your convenience, I have also provided some details about each charity with their donation web link below within this newsletter. Look for the section titled, “Freedom’s Light 2010 Charities: Make a Difference Today!” It lists all of the great things we can do to help these men and women in their time of need.

 

Need help with use of the site or have questions about the Freedom’s Light Program? Feel free to send me a note at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Happy Independence Day!

 

God Bless,

--Pat


 

Motivational Journal Entry: The Age of Freedom Continues Through Us…

 

 

Looking back at past journal entries, I could not help to publish this again. What I thought was going to be a series of training journal entries last year ended up to being a very strong, heartfelt note to my two daughters about the gift of freedom passed on to us. It was this journal entry which challenged me to dig deeper and find a way to found the Freedom’s Light program.

 

I sincerely hope this journal entry provides one with a sense of pride and optimism going into the Independence Day holiday.


 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with the certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” --  Declaration of Independence:  July 4, 1776.

 

 

 

Background / Context (July 2009):

 

This first round of journal entries is a bit intense.  I’ve included only two because of length.  It has the backdrop of several holidays, events, and moments in history that fuel my passion around supporting the Fisher House cause.  The timing starts with Memorial Day weekend.  Not only is Memorial Day a holiday of remembrance for veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice but it is also the same weekend as the West Point graduation.  Both events trigger some mixed emotions of pride, indebtedness, and quite honestly a bit of guilt for not being next to my friends who are still out there serving.  I stop by to see Phil Esposito, a classmate of mine and friend, at the St. Anthony’s cemetery to say hello and ask for his help in keeping faithful to our oath of a lifetime of service to the nation.

 

Then comes the anniversary of D-Day on June 6th where I constructively channel all of these raw emotions toward something bigger than myself.  As I begin to deal with my own uncertainty, fear, and doubt about taking on this Fisher House fundraising challenge, I am able to pull strength from the stories surrounding the D-Day Invasion.  As mentioned in my Fisher House Kick-off Message, many put aside their differences, overcame fear, and courageously struck back against 5 long years of Nazi tyranny.

 

Now comes Independence Day, where I find myself thinking about how different our country is in the sense where a few courageous individuals like Paine, Henry, Stockton, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Hancock and of course Washington inspired many more to fight against colonial rule from 1775 – 1783.  When reading historical accounts of what happened during the war and even the decade after, it is a miracle that this country even exists.  Most distinctively, the newly established United States of America stayed true to the quote above from the Declaration of Independence even among all the problems and stress of keeping the 13 states together as one union.  For whatever their differences were, they knew that they could never set up a government based on the “Divine Right Rule of Kings.”  Above all else, the stayed focused on setting a new course in human history where the rights of its citizens were bestowed by a divine creator (or whatever you want to call it) instead.  The Founders made it clear that we are a free people not subject to the rule by any one person or an elite but by a system of checks and balances created by and for the people.

 

June 24th, 2009:  No Retreat, No Surrender….  That is Spartan Law

 

I wake up at 3:30am, knowing that I have a full workout this morning.  The plan is a run 5 miles, bike 17 miles, and swim 1 mile.  I have to get on the road to work by 7:30am in order to be in my office in Bridgewater, NJ by 9:00am.

 

As I go outside and look at the pitch black sky, I jog down the road in front of my house to begin my run.  I don’t wear an iPod when running outside in the early morning because there is a certain tranquility of listening to all of the sounds of the pre-dawn.  While most people are asleep, so many birds, animals, and insects are at their peak activity.  Also, it is the ideal time for a reflection.  As part of a Jesuit tradition recently taught to me by Father McIntyre (sorry Father, I just have a hard time calling you Gerry as you’ve asked), I begin my 5 steps of contemplation.  I ask myself:

  1. In this seemingly chaotic, insanely strange, and convoluted thing called life where is the hidden message that I am not seeing?
  2. What are the things I should be thankful for?
  3. During the last 24 hours, what feelings are hitting me most?
  4. Pick one and pray about it.
  5. Develop your action plan for the day ahead.  Don’t waste a single moment…  You’ve got work to do! J

Typically it is not too hard to go through all 5 steps but this morning, I never make it past step 1.  In my head, I feel a surge of seemingly random thoughts.  Memories hit me from all directions.  The first clear one comes from a scene in the movie “300.”  King Leonidas and a force of 300 Spartans fight against an attacking Persian Army of nearly a million at the Battle of Thermopylae.  Using terrain as his ally, he is able to last 4 days stopping the assault.  On the 5th day he receives news that Ephialtes, a Greek traitor, has led the Persian Army behind the Spartan forces through a little known goat path.  When receiving this news, King Leonidas gathers his Army around him and says:

 

“No retreat, no surrender.  That is Spartan Law.  And by Spartan Law we will stand, and fight, and die…  A new age has begun.  An age of freedom!  And all will know that 300 Spartans gave their last breath… to defend it!!!”


(View full clip at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qubItQjdSHA )


I tell myself that I know this movie is a semi-fictional depiction of the Battle of Thermopylae; but clearly my mind has pulled from it for a reason.  Why did King Leonidas stay and fight?  Was it honor, or stubbornness, or perhaps arrogance?  Why not regroup and find another way?  I continue to run struggling awhile with these questions.  I don’t get a clear answer…  The run finishes.  I see that I will be stuck at Step 1 for at least another day.

 

July 1st, 2009:  Why in the World Am I Doing This???

 

Another long workout today.  Similar to last week, I have 6 mile run, 17 mile bike, and 1 mile swim.  Today, I start with the bike downstairs in my house.  While doing an interval workout, I catch up on the morning news for about 50 minutes.  I am having a hard time concentrating today.  I feel pretty tired and seem to not have that same “fire in the belly” as most mornings.

 

Time is now close to 4:30am when I finish the bike.  The car is already loaded from the night before with stuff.  I am heading to the local YMCA to run my 6 miles first (outside) and be at the pool the moment it opens at 5:30am.  It gets crowded quick.  As I get out of the car I think to myself, “Why in the world am I doing this?  What am I trying to prove?  Really, will any of this really matter in the end?  Can’t others step up in my place?”  Knowing that my timeline is tight, I convince myself to step off and begin running.  I may not be excited this morning but I will certainly not back away from a challenge that does not require much more at this point than to just keep moving.  What would my kids think of me?

 

As I settle into my run, the pieces begin to fall into place…  What would my kids think of me?  What will their kids think of me?  I know the answer:  They’ll think I was some crazy “nut case” who lived his life not paying too much attention to the how’s but instead made most of his decisions based on the what’s.  What needs to be done that no one else is doing?  Knowing what I know, what is the right thing to do?  Smiling, I think, “What a way to live…”  Then the smile transitions into an uncomfortable pause.  A crystal clear message emerges that gives me a jolt of anxiety followed by a high level of inner peace.  It’s a message for some reason I have refused to face or speak openly about up to this point out of fear of embarrassment.

 

If I am fully honest with myself, I am not just running for Fisher House to simply fundraise for injured soldiers.  That is a huge part of it, but I must admit that it’s much more.  It’s not just about managing some anxiety or guilt of not giving as much as others (like Phil who gave everything), although that is certainly true too.  There is a component in this that I was scared to admit until now because it seemed selfish.  Like King Leonidas, I value sending a message to those after me when I am gone.  Clearly, I'm trying to influence my two girls who have been watching all of this in real time.  Ultimately, through the help of these journal entries, I hope to influence their judgment and give them some things to consider as they learn to apply their own gifts in their own way later in life. I denied this reality out of fear that I would be accused of being selfish.  Now bringing it out where I can see it, I can comfortably acknowledge it for what it truly is, an act of love.  Being that this is something bigger than me, it provides more positive energy and incentive to keep going.

 

At this point, I am finishing the run portion of the workout now and know that I don’t have much time left to reflect anymore.  If I tried to focus this much in the pool, I probably would drown! J So I ask myself, what’s the bottom line?  What message should the girls read from this entry?  It is, “Don’t retreat from your beliefs when it becomes unfashionable.  Don’t surrender your values when it becomes hard.  That is what it takes to keep your dreams alive.  Respect and honor the people around you who value these principles and disregard the other influences.  As COL David Paschal once told me, “I have one standing order for you to follow if I can not be reached:  When in doubt, commit the Reserves!”

 

GirlsWhen in doubt, give everything you have!  Take chances, do what’s right, and learn as you go!  Align your head, your heart, and your habits toward something good and go for it!!!  That attitude symbolizes what it means to be an American…  There is no hero, no bailout, no answer that can replace your own individual spirit which yearns to be free!  Act worthy of the gift of freedom given by the generations before us.

 

May the Age of Freedom continue through you and your actions when you are old enough to read this…

 

Love,

--Dad


 

Freedom’s Light 2010 Charities: Make a Difference Today!

 

Fisher House

Supporting America's military in their time of need, Fisher House provides "a home away from home" that enables family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time - during hospitalization for an illness, disease, or injury.

 

To learn more visit:  www.fisherhouse.org/

To donate visit: http://www.active.com/donate/FisherHouse2010MCM/2010PCurran


Tuesday's Children

Tuesday's Children is a family service organization that has made a long-term commitment to every individual who was directly impacted by the events of September 11, 2001.  Our broad range of core programs and services are designed for those that lost a loved one on 9/11 as well as Rescue and Recovery Workers and Responders.  Our successful international program, Project Common Bond, reaches out to young adults around the world and establishes a global community dedicated to working together to heal, collaborate, and educate.

 

To learn more visit:  http://www.tuesdayschildren.org

To donate visit: https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/TuesdaysChildren/OnlineDonation.html. Please remember to put "Freedom's Light" in the comments box.

 

 

Wounded Warrior Project

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) began when several individuals took small, inspired actions to help others in need.  One night while watching the evening news, veterans and friends were moved by stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq.  They realized something needed to be done for these brave individuals beyond the brass bands and ticker tape parades.  They wanted to provide tangibles support for the severely wounded to help them on the road to heal both physically and mentally.  What they viewed as a small contribution compared with what the warriors had sacrificed is now WWP's signature program:  WWP backpacks delivered bedside to wounded warriors.

 

To learn more visit: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

To donate visit:  http://WWPProudSupporter.kintera.org/curran

 

 

Operation USO Care Package

Hundreds of thousands of military personnel are serving in far-off places defending the liberties we hold so dear - away from their families, friends, and the comforts of home.  In 2003, the USO discovered the changing needs of those thousands of deploying troops.  Understanding the impact that the little things can have and difference they can make, the USO launched Operation USO Care Package providing comforts of home in the form of a care package.  For as little as $25.00 you can send a care package letting a service member know that you care.

 

To learn more visit:  http://www.uso.org/

To send a care package visit: https://www.uso.org/donate/custom.aspx?id=565


 

About the Freedom’s Light Newsletter

The Freedom’s Light Newsletter comes to a reader at no expense. Feel free to forward to others who would appreciate a bit of inspiration. All that we ask is that you consider stopping by our site at www.freedomslight.org to leave a small donation to any of our 4 charities listed.

The Freedom’s Light site also has free features to include motivational video clips, past journal entries, and the ability to leave a heartfelt message at our “Dedication Wall.” You can also sign up for future newsletters on the home page in the “Join Our Newsletter” section. The intent is to allow anyone to use the site to express their support for America’s best in their time of need.

All organizations associated with the site are 501(c) charities. All donations are tax deductible in accordance with IRS regulations. Every penny an individual donates through the Freedom’s Light website goes directly to the organization.

Interested in displaying a business/organizational logo on the newsletter and site? Have other questions? Email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .