SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 164: “If You Can’t Be Excellent, Be The Best You Can”

“We support our troops,” a banner that points my attention to a group of men displaying and waving a tribute of flags as I drive past the corner of Topanga Canyon and Victory.

Auto horns are blasting, vocally backed by cheers and whistles calling out from my fellow road travelers.

A few minimal traffic violations and car accelerating g-forces later, I find myself engaged in conversation with one of three honorable veterans of service to the country, one even a participant in the battles of Normandy Beach, all of whom spend countless hours of self-funded time in getting one direct message out, “Support our troops.”

Asking for no monetary compensation, donations or personal acknowledgement of any kind, they are proudly engaged in purpose, to honor the men and women who valiantly risk life and limb in the fight for freedom, a message that deserves the greatest of respect.

Richard is the spokesman to the troop of three and speaks of honesty, consistency and the power of the individual, “You don’t owe anybody anything, except being true to your conscience.”

He points this comment in advising us to be courageous in listing to the dictates of our own mind, heart and inspiration. Richard stands strong in his belief of the person, and gives us permission to own our decisions, suggesting that we look beyond popular census or trend.

“You owe your commitment to anything you believe in. Causes go away, politicians go to jail, promoters go onto the next thing and all your left with is how you feel about what you did,” Richard platforms.

“You have no control whether anybody else in this world lets you down. The only person you can control is yourself.”

“No-one can guarantee wisdom, but anyone can choose honesty.”

Adapting its theme, Richard references from the most obscure examples, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, “If you can’t be excellent, be the best you can.”

Be the best you can? Possibly a behind the mind look at the commitment of Richard and his other patriots in committing time and dollar to the support of our troops.

Richard is a spokesman for human rights. He holds no contempt towards any population or human being. Rather his outlook steers away from mass opinion and leans refreshingly towards a passion for the rights of the person; the only thing he pushes is that we act in accordance to our own free choice, and to campaign for the freedom of the individual.

He sums up his council in breaking down his wishes for the future:

1 Year “Get through this year with no more anger and hatred.”

5 Years – “Realize there are more important things than faction and short-term political objectives.”

15 years – First with a smile, “Happy to be here,” then on to his real advice, “I’d like to see the opportunities that we have in this country spread around the world.”

Richard is an evangelist for the strength of personal choice, yet he is realistic in his charge, “You can’t make everybody happy, force them to act like free people, can’t think for them in making them wealthy. I’d just like to see everybody at least have the opportunity to achieve these things.”

May we all have the courage to act in accordance to our agency, and to move forward in contributing honestly to the world; and as suggested by Richard, “If you can’t be excellent, be the best you can.”

3 comments

  1. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. The only correction I would offer is that Ed is a veteran of Normandy Beach, not Okinawa.

    He’s also the author of an outstanding history of the last days of the Second World War and its immediate aftermath, 50 Days of War and Peace… http://tinyurl.com/7ldxl8m Well worth the read, it’s been adopted by several government and service libraries.

    Like

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