Being President of the United States seems to me to be a daunting task and a responsibility of enormous proportion . . . even on a good day. We owe a debt of great gratitude to those who are willing to serve our country in that capacity – who have left their mark on the world and who are forever woven into the fabric that is America.
Since today is President’s Day, I wanted to share some “Presidential” thoughts, photos and some of my favorite Presidential quotes. – Colonel
About this time last year, a representative of Dave Ramsey Solutions called and presented me with a challenge. President George W. Bush was to be the keynote speaker for an event they were having in Dallas and they wanted my suggestions on a gift that would be presented to the President at the summit. I thought about it for a couple of days and told them it would be my honor to make something for President Bush that would be a unique, one-of-a-kind item that would celebrate his Texas roots.
My Master Craftsman and I set about designing and making what I think is the most special piece to ever come out of the Col. Littleton Workshop . . . our No. 1 Saddlebag Briefcase trimmed out in American Alligator. I looked through all our hides with cattle brands on them and was lucky enough to find a hide with a “B” brand that would become the side gusset of this special hand-crafted bag.
President Bush was kind enough to write me a very gracious thank-you note which I treasure . . . first one I’ve received with the Presidential seal. My thanks to my friend, Dave Ramsey, for giving me this unique opportunity; and, of course, to President Bush for his service to our country.
OTHER PRESIDENTS WHO RECEIVED COL. LITTLETON PRODUCTS – President Bush is not the only President to receive a Col. Littleton product. We were pleased to receive, on behalf of PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON, an order for Col. Littleton bone-handled pocket knives to be presented to his friends who accompanied him on an Arkansas Duck Hunt when he was President. They were handsomely personalized on both sides and, we think, quite beautiful.
One of the funniest Presidential moments I’ve ever witnessed was when PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA actually caught a fly that was buzzing his head during a White House interview. So far as I know, he is the only President to actually catch a fly on live TV; so he became the recipient of a Col. Littleton No. 1 Leather Flyswatter (for uptown flies only) to celebrate his adroit and impressive feat. See, even the White House has flies.
THE MAN IN THE ARENA
I have always had great admiration for the style and substance of our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt. It’s not that easy to get your legacy literally chiseled in stone on Mount Rushmore with the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Teddy Roosevelt had a lot to say, but this is my favorite of his quotes:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming . . . . who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – From a speech delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910.
His words should still spur us on today. His message: “Get out there. Try something. Take a chance. For Heaven’s sake, do something. You could fail, but failure is not the worst thing that could happen to you. The worst thing is to have never tried. There will always be people to point out your shortcomings and those who delight in finding a chink in the armor. Those people don’t matter. Go for it. Give it all you’ve got.
WHAT CAN I GIVE – NOT WHAT CAN I GET
I came of age in the “me” generation of the 1960’s, so I was
one of those people who remembers where I was the day our
35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, died. His most
memorable quote for me and for most people was from his
inaugural address, January 20, 1961 – “And so, my fellow
Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask
what you can do for your country.”
Every morning I wake up feeling blessed and happy. First, I’m happy just to wake up, and then I’m happy to be waking up in the greatest country the world has ever known. The “me” generation is still alive and well everywhere you look today. Seems that we spend far too much time thinking about what’s in it for me and what am I going to get out of it and too little time thinking about what can I pass forward and what can I give to make our country and our world a better place. JFK got it right, and we should take his admonition to heart every day we live in this great country. Thank you, Mr. President.
THE BUCK STOPS HERE
You didn’t have to wonder what our 33rd President, Harry S. Truman was thinking. They didn’t call him “Give ’em hell, Harry”, for nothing. There was a sign on his desk in his White House office that said, “The Buck Stops Here,” which, in my mind, is closely related to his quote, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” The buck stops here . . . I like that. It’s about stepping up to the plate and making the hard decisions and taking responsibility for them. None of that “kicking the can down the road” stuff we hear so much about today. It’s about not passing your responsibilities off to someone else like passing the baton to a runner in a relay race. Life is not a relay race. It’s all about personal responsibility. President Truman understood that, and I admire him for it.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President.
No argument from the Colonel, Mr. President.
This quote is inscribed on the headstone at the burial site of
President and Mrs. Reagan, in Simi Valley, California:
“I know in my heart that man is good,
that what is right will always eventually
triumph, and there is purpose and worth to
each and every life.” – Ronald Reagan
Well said, Mr. President.