“A Month Being Thankful For… Never Forget?”
2018: Your Breakout Season Part 6
I began writing this month’s column on a Sunday afternoon in September. As often seems to be the case, my topic came to me only a couple of weeks ago, completely out of the blue. I’ll tell you about that in just a second, but first, a pop quiz. I need you to answer this question:
What is the “Day of Infamy”? Go ahead. I’m waiting. Does it pop right out? Did you get it immediately? If you knew the answer, how did you know what it is? I’ll give out the answer in a moment, but let me continue for now.
The reason I ask the question of you is because a few weeks back, close to September 11th, I heard many folks on TV and radio talking about 9/11. There were memorial services going on, the list of some 3,000 names lost that day in the attacks was read, and almost every, single one of those news commentators mentioned the words, “never forget”, we will “remember forever”, and so on. You probably heard that several times, as well.
But it struck a chord in me: truly, would we “never forget”? It pains me to say it, but far, too many people today seem unable to remember even that event, from just 17 years ago.
Was 9/11 the ‘Day of Infamy’? Nope. Wrong. Sit down!
So while I’m thinking about this, telling myself that it can’t possibly be true that many seem to be all-but-over the events of 9/11, I get the crazy idea to ask several folks about the real Day. My question to them was the same as the one I asked you at the beginning of this piece: “What is the ‘Day of Infamy’”?
Answers consisted of blank stares! Even the smart-looking ones said, at best, ‘huh?’ or ‘what?’ So I followed up my obviously, foolish question with, ‘December 7, 1941?’ Shockingly, still no takers. Nobody knew.
I added, “The empire of Japan attacked the US Navy at Pearl Harbor. World War 2 began.” Vacant expressions abounded as if to say, ‘Sony attacked us?’
Yikes! (By the way, I personally learned about all of this history while in elementary, middle and high school, back about a zillion years ago. You?)
The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of the US Congress, and was welcomed by a standing ovation from both parties. He said that December 7th, 1941 would be remembered as a ‘Day of Infamy’, and declared that the US was now at war with Japan.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana
This column runs during the month we celebrate Thanksgiving. As I sit here, late in September, surveying the political and economic landscape, I wonder what’s going to happen come November and the mid-term elections. How will all the issues of our day be resolved? Will good and noble candidates be elected into our governments and even voted onto our Supreme Court?
Don’t know about that, although I remain hopeful. But I do know this: when Masonry Magazine asked me to begin writing a column in July of 2005, they certainly didn’t do much of a background check on me! Great, because how many stupid things did I do in high school? I’m sure I was a jerk. But, hey, almost every guy I knew in high school was also a member of that club.
Like what? Well, I’m not totally certain, and I can’t remember the exact date, but legend has it that I might have once launched a frog into sub-orbital flight, recovering him by parachute, possibly displaying him afterward in a science fair exhibit. Maybe. I wouldn’t want PETA to stroke out over this, so I’ll just say that I’ve heard of these things happening at my school, that I might or might not have been at a specific house when “Froggie” was launched, and that I’m not sure who all was nearby. Heck, I might have dreamt the whole thing, so I wouldn’t want to testify to it.
And yet, just a couple of short years later, guys from my high school class who were drafted into the military, did go. We all served. I gave but a little. Some of our guys gave it all. Everything! Jerks became men! And as I reflect on those guys, I surely choose to remember their time of excellence, of service, and of sacrifice. Never, ever would I dishonor them by remembering we were all, at one time or another, in Jerk Club together.
And…get this: the US Army did a very thorough background check on me, and they did talk to my school friends. Ultimately, the investigators concluded that, high school jerk or not, I showed enough promise in college and then in the Army, that they felt good about authorizing a top-secret security clearance for me. High school jerk–or not!
Okay…a little hyperbole, but I bring up all of this in the month of November, that time of thanksgiving and, I hope, a time of forgiveness. Maybe even a little grace. With all of this in mind, let me share with you a thought for this holiday season. It’s one I try and remind contractors to consider this time of year.
Here’s the idea: because of Thanksgiving, decide this year that you’ll send out ‘Thank You’ cards to your friends in business, your suppliers, sub-contractors and clients. Tell them early in November that you are very thankful for the relationship you have with them. Wish them a wonderful holiday season. The cool thing here is that your card will be among the first to get to your people and will stay with them all season long.
From a business and marketing standpoint, it’s a great way to handle mentioning the season, but also consider its value from the personal side. Realize that some of these people may no longer be around next Thanksgiving. Don’t be caught later telling yourself that you meant to—you should have—made calls like that in 2018—but didn’t.
You can never give someone a sincere ‘thanks’ too many times. Maybe you can even find this a time to restore some relationships, be it in business or even family & friends. This could be the year that you put back together some of the most important relationships in your life. It could happen to you. It has certainly happened to me.
Take this to the bank: It’s nice when you remember. Even better: never forget!