Independence Day reflection – A holiday for all Americans

Originally posted on at

Friends, Family, Shipmates, Colleagues:

Independence Day weekend is upon us, and I want to wish you, your families, and friends a happy and safe couple of days. Earlier today I sent messages to my teams both at my day job at USIS and in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, so I also want to share the spirit of those messages with you.

The recent weeks have been challenging for many of you I know. Some of you have faced much activity at work, students and teachers have finished spring sessions and have begun several months of life in other pursuits, Coasties work around the clock battling oil in the Gulf of Mexico (and tells the story) while those Auxiliarists in Flotilla Arlington | Northern Virginia are working hard to train and qualify an influx of new people and the largest group of new small boat crew trainees in recent memory. My staff in the University Programs Branch has been working hard as well to support the dedicated instructors and students around the country and to prepare programs to launch at new schools. My friends at Whitecoat Strategies have hit the road telling the story of science while my friends at Decisions for Heroes have made great improvements to the way they help rescue teams save lives around the world. Everywhere I look, the community of friends, family, shipmates, and colleagues that I am so privileged to be a part of and who make up the community around this blog are doing really great things. The world is remarkable.

Everyone does what they do for different reasons, but in talking with many of you it becomes clear that you count love of country, compassion for the people of the world, and devotion to duty among your personal motivations. We each come from different places and different backgrounds. Unlike Memorial Day, Labor Day, or Veterans Day, honoring the fallen, the workers, and the returned heroes respectively, the holiday we celebrate this weekend is one that we Americans own together (and we invite others around the world to celebrate with us). I wish you the best as you honor it, enjoy it, and spend it with family and the best of friends.

It is a beautiful day in Virginia, so go out and take advantage. My two requests are that you be safe, and help to pass the spirit of this message to all with whom you serve and celebrate.

As always, please be in touch, and thank you for your service!

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