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By Al Batt
I listened to Ray Charles sing "America the Beautiful"
the other morning. It gave me a lump in my throat.
Then I listened to Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless
America." My eyes grew misty. I love this country. I love
the people who live in this country. Like most us of us,
I don't just live in America, it lives within me. It is a land
filled with heroes. I once asked my father what was the
biggest event, other than family things in his life. Without
hesitation, he answered, "Pearl Harbor." When I asked
him why, he told me that it was because of all of the heroes.
I have taught classes in which I have asked students to
name the five wealthiest people in the world, the last five
Super Bowl MVPs, ten actors who have won an
Academy Award and ten Grammy winners. How
do my students do at this exercise? They are terrible
at it. Very few are able to name more than two or three
of the thirty names. These people are all famous, but
we have difficulty remembering who they are. I then ask
my charges to name five teachers who make them want
to learn, five people who have taught them something
good that is worth knowing, ten friends or family members
who have helped them through a tough time and ten
people who they enjoy spending time with. How do
the students do in this assignment? They do very
well -- often too well, writing down more names than
I asked for. Why does this happen? It is a simple
lesson for us all. The people who make a difference
in our lives are not the rich, the famous or the ones
with the most awards. The people who make a
difference in your life and in my life are the ones who care.
Take this day to hug those you love and tell them that
you love them. Write a note or make a phone call to
someone who has made a difference in your life and
tell him or her that he or she has made a difference.
Be remembered by showing someone that you care.
I realize that athletes, businessmen, singers, and
actors can be heroes. We have a tendency to make
them so. I hope that they all strive to be the kind that
we all can look up to. I also know that we all have
learned that true courage is demonstrated regularly
by ordinary people rising above hopeless situations.
Ordinary folks who show us that they care. We all
watched transfixed as the firefighters, police officers
and emergency workers risked their lives by rushing
fearlessly into burning buildings on the East Coast to
save the lives of others. They are all heroes.
We watched our TV sets as people arrived at the sight
of the national tragedy to provide food, blood, clothing
and money. They are all heroes.
Those who serve in our military and sacrifice much to
keep us free are heroes. Those who remember others
in their prayers -- they are heroes, too.
All these people are what makes this country the
greatest country on earth. We don't have to look very
far to find heroes. Do not doubt for a second that our
local firefighters, police officers and emergency personnel
would do the same. I live in a rural area and can testify to
the bravery of volunteer firemen. They are all heroes.
The medical professionals who perform daily miracles
are heroes. Our teachers who teach our children to be
better than what they see on the news and our clerics
who help us make sense of what troubles us -- they are
But we don't even have to look that far to find a hero. If you
want to see a hero, look in a mirror. Become a keeper of hope.
Why not help the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the
United Way, a church, a school, a service club or any
number of other wonderful organizations? It is easy to
volunteer and someone is always looking for help.
Volunteering will make you a better person and
it will keep this country great. Share a smile with
everyone you see. Stop and visit someone at a nursing
home. Such a visit will do you good. And you know
what? If you do any of these things, you will show you
care and you will make a difference. You will be a hero.
Thanks to you and others like you, the eagle still flies
high and America is still the beautiful.
Write Al and let him know your thoughts on his story!
Al Batt lives on a farm near Hartland,
Minnesota. Besides being a husband to Gail,
father and grandfather; Al is a newspaper
columnist, a radio and TV personality, a
storyteller, a tour leader and an avid birder.
Be sure to check out the interview we did with Al
in case you missed it earlier this month:
AOL Users Click Here: Al Batt
From now on we will be offering our book,
Straight From the Heart "A Celebration of Life" for
only $13 (instead of the regular price of $14.95), and
best of all, we will pay the shipping! So if you have
any interest in purchasing an autographed copy of
the book for yourself, or as a gift for your loved ones,
now is the time to get it!
To order your autographed copy send a check or
money order for $13 (We pay the shipping!) for each
book made out to Michael T. Powers, and then send it to:
Michael T. Powers
1918 Liberty Lane
Janesville, WI 53545
To preview the book by reading some of the stories visit:
AOL Users Click below:
Straight From the Heart: A Celebration of Life
I just read your story on HeartTouchers. Wow! What a good story. I am
the father of 5 children (from 11 to 2 1/2), and it has been very
difficult for me and my stay-at-home, hardworking wife to stop and take
the time to really appreciate the stages of life they (and we) are going
through. I do spend time with them from time to time just doing fun
stuff, but not nearly as often as they or I would like. Your story
helped me to fast-forward to the coming years and get a glimpse of what
we will be facing in the future. It helped me to realize that there may
be another time when I can do some of the other things I want to do, but
they will only be children once, and this time will never come again. I
am going to share this story with my wife and together we can hopefully
re-prioritize our lives in order to take more advantage of this time we
are together. Our church places special emphasis on families, but
reading your story gave me another perspective from another REAL person
about just how special these children are. Thanks again.
Little Rock, AR
Thought For The Day:
"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has
reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while
trying to succeed." --Booker T. Washington
Verse for the Day:
"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has
stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to
those who love him." --James 1:12
Kid's Thought For The Day:
"Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick."
Parent's Thought For The Day:
"Stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship
with him." --Dr. Henker
Writer's Thought For The Day:
"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that it all happened to you. Afterwards it all belongs to you -- the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so you can give that to people, then you are a writer." --Ernest Hemingway
Coach's Thought For The Day:
"Champions know there are no shortcuts to the top.
They climb the mountain one step at a time. They
have no use for helicopters!" -- Judi Adler
Deep Thought For The Day:
"The more you cry, the less you have to go to the bathroom!"
My son is stationed in NC. A soldier from his Unit hung himself yesterday morning. This young man was 21 years old. His comrades are devastated and deeply saddened. Please pray for this group of young men and women as well as for the family and friends of this young man. Thank you.
/_/\/\ MICHAEL T. POWERS
\_\ / HeartTouchers@aol.com
/_/ \ "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no
\_\/\ \ longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I
\_\/ live in the body I live for the Son of God, who
loved me and gave Himself for me."
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Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business
"I thought of you first after my family sat down to watch
the video we gave them. They loved it, to say the
least! Within thirty seconds my mom was crying
and my dad did too. They said it was the best
Christmas gift we could have given them!! You
did such a beautiful job! They were so surprised
and so touched--they really, really, really loved it.
Thanks for helping to make it so special to us all.
My mom mentioned how the songs were perfect
for the video too! Thanks again!"
Kelli-- College Station, TX
Let me make you a video from your pictures or
home movies! Check out the web page for Michael's
video production business! Visit:
AOL Users click here: Video Imagery
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