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13 Nov 2011 - Looking Back, Looking Ahead

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving I am just not in the mood to be critical of anyone this week; instead I would like to focus on events in the past, present and future and pay tribute.

First of all, the past... Veteran’s Day that we observed November 11th. I am so pleased that we have not moved the observance of that date to a Friday or a Monday to give us a longer weekend. It belongs on November 11, Armistice Day, the end of World War I, that subsequently became Veteran’s Day to give us the opportunity to remember, honor and pay tribute to men and women who have given so much, including their lives, to preserve the freedom that you and I enjoy in this country and for which we should be thankful on Thanksgiving Day.

Now, let’s come to the Present . . . I was delighted this year to receive invitations from three High Schools to speak at Veteran’s Day Programs where the current generation is taking the time to study our nation’s history and to pay tribute to the veterans. The one event I was able to participate in was a Veteran’s Day Concert at a suburban High School in the Chicago area where I served as narrator. It was standing room only and the audience recognized veterans of the five military services with standing ovations. The talented musicians presented a beautiful concert of patriotic music and appreciated the opportunity to use their talent to recognize and salute the veterans. For me, it was an emotional evening.

Finally looking to the future, I take you to Kansas City where I was involved in the annual Leadership Conference of the Agriculture Future of America, an organization that was born out of anger when the FFA Convention left Kansas City, but over the years has grown into a very positive organization to help college students who are studying for careers in agriculture to come together and network, and to meet agribusiness executives who may someday be their employers. It was a record group of more than 500 ag college students from 37 states who spent three days in Kansas City and left no doubt in my mind that the future of world agriculture is in solid hands with these students who are excited and ready to be our next generation of leaders.

Happy Thanksgiving!