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Gratitude





This being Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S., I figured I'd take a detour from the usual reporting on the latest accounting and regulatory developments, to include a note of thanks to those people who put themselves in harm's way to make the world a better place for the rest of us. That includes people in the armed forces, police, fire and emergency workers: thank you for having the courage to do what you do, so the rest of us can go about our daily lives feeling a little more secure - whether we think about it in our daily lives, or not.

Certainly people with family serving in any of the capacities listed above think about it every day, people like Michelle Golden, President of Golden Marketing, Inc., a fellow member of AccountingWeb's Bloggers' Crew, and author of the Golden Practices blog. It was through Michelle that I learned (via Twitter) of the Gratitude campaign which produced the video linked in this post. Michelle shared with colleagues that her son recently returned from a tour of duty with the U.S. Army, where he was stationed in Afghanistan. Many of us in the accounting/legal blogging community were glad to hear of her son's safe return, and are thankful for his service, and others like him.

I have also written previously in this blog (e.g. on President's Day, 2007) about meeting many members of the armed services, police and fire departments, like my roommate, a Marine helicoptor pilot, and my co-instructor, a Philadelphia Fire Captain, when I served as a Volunteer Instructor with Presidential Classroom (PC) for a week in 2003 (at the time, I worked for the federal government, which, like the military, encouraged employees to participate in such programs; PC encourages volunteer instructors from the private sector as well.) PC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that provides a one week in-residence program in Washington, D.C. for high school students from around the country, (offered during various weeks through the year), geared toward "educat[ing] and motivat[ing] outstanding students to aspire to leadership by providing the highest quality civic education programs." The program includes meetings on Capitol Hill, visits to federal regulatory agencies and foreign embassies, and some time for fun, too. I highly recommend the PC program for high school students as participants, and for adults who can spend a week away (since volunteer instructors are required to live on campus during the week you volunteer). It's an eye-opening experience not only for the high school students, but for the volunteer instructors as well, particurly in getting to know people who may come from vastly different backgrounds than yourself, and have chosen different paths in life. You will return to your normal routine or 'day job' a different person, enhanced by the experience. I have noted that those of us with 'desk jobs' really can benefit from getting to know people like my roommate and coinstructor in the PC program, and the many other fine instructors in the program, many of whom who risk their lives every day at their 'day' job.

President Barack Obama, in his weekly address, (also known as the weekly radio address) (transcript), said this is a time "to pay tribute to our fallen heroes; and to remember the servicemen and women who cannot be with us this year because they are standing post far from home." He spoke of government programs, adding, "we must also do our part, not only as a nation, but as individuals for those Americans who are bearing the burden of wars being fought on our behalf. That can mean sending a letter or a care package to our troops overseas. It can mean volunteering at a clinic where a wounded warrior is being treated or bringing supplies to a homeless veterans center. Or it can mean something as simple as saying 'thank you' to a veteran you pass on the street."

Scott Truitt, founder of the Gratitude Campaign, which encourages a simple, nonverbal gesture of Thank-You, derived from American Sign Language, notes, "Is this limited to the military? Not at all. If you look around you I'm sure that you'll find lots of people who are serving their communities, from local to global. If you appreciate their service, give them a sign. Say 'thank you from the bottom of my heart.'" As we prepare to return to our regularly scheduled programming, to all those looking out for our safety at home and abroad, thank you.
Posted: 5/24/2009 11:55:00 AM by Edith Orenstein | with 0 comments


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Edith Orenstein