Giving Memorial Day Thanks – “Build Me A Son”

Giving Memorial Day Thanks – “Build Me A Son”

Giving Thanks - Memorial Day 2015

On this Memorial Day weekend I am thinking about all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of Freedom. The world we live in is a dangerous one, fraught with men with evil intentions. But for the sacrifice of a brave few, those men would have their way on all. We can see it in places near and far, from the evil men who brutally tortured and killed a YPO family in Washington DC (Savvas Savopoulos) to the evil being inflicted on whole countries in the Middle East. Left unchecked evil prevails. We live in a the greatest country, a place where an individual, no matter if they were born into poverty and extreme disadvantage can do and be anything they set out to achieve. A country where the world’s people, seek out more than any other, to take refuge from evil, to build a better life for their family, to live free. We are all privileged and I give thanks to those who have made it possible.

This poem, by General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific during the great struggle against evil in World War II, has hung on my wall for 26 years. I can think of no better message to all of my children (sons and daughters) than that contained herein.MacArthur on Time

“Build me a son, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee-and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

After all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength. Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, ‘I have not lived in vain.’”

– General Douglas MacArthur

 

As we all enjoy the holiday weekend, including the many who come to town for the Indy 500 Sunday, let’s all take a moment and reflect on these words. Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

With Gratitude,

Smoke

May 23, 2015

Savvas Savopoulos YPO Member

Savvas Savopoulos YPO Member

On my wall since 1989

IMG_5507

The Wallin Children May 2015

Being Grateful

Being Grateful

Being Grateful

Wishing everyone, who observes, a Happy Easter and Passover, and Happy Spring to everyone.  On this beautiful day in the mountains,

 

Grand Lake, CO sunrise in the mountains

Grand Lake, CO sunrise in the mountains

 

I am grateful for many things, here a just a few:

  • my life,
  • my wife Anitra,
  • my children, Skye, Cameron, Sierra and Talli
  • my family, brothers and sisters – Clay and Patrick Brooks, Rain, Amber & Teri Parks, Eva Sage, Star & Garrett
  • my Mom Penny
  • my Dad Luke and stepmother Mary Gordon
  • my Grandmothers, Dot Kalehoff and Ruth “Mimi” Wallin
  • my In-laws, John Carr & Janel Seymour
  • other in-laws -  Corinne & Michael O’Flynn, Francis Robinson, Colleen Carr
  • Nieces and nephews: Terra Sage Wallin, Alex, Samantha and Erika Robinson, Conor, Rory, Liam and Aiden O’Flynn
  • Uncle Edd, cousins Max, Rex and Alexis Kalehoff
  • Aunt Marge, cousins Jennifer, Madelyn and Kaley and in the memory of Ariel Ball.
  • Cousins Kim and Lisa
  • The LaCrosse family
  • Our 11 year old Beagle, Louie Loki Wallin
  • And all the other extended family
  • My friends… growing up in Hoboken, Boston, and mainly on Longboat Key,
    • Cornell and Vanderbilt
    • Indy, SKL, Napa, NWS, WSWA, eSkye, Lipman, YPO
  • My extended friends, acquaintances and online network (some of you I feel like I know you better than some family members… kind of strange)
  • My business partners and colleagues
  • All the teachers, coaches and adult leaders who have been there for my kids
  • All the people who helped me along the way in school, Scouts, business and life
  • My health
  • My family’s health
  • The opportunities I have had
  • The opportunities that continue to present themselves to me
  • The mistakes I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned
  • The chance to make a difference to others and leave the world a better place
  • The ability to choose who I will be each and every day

 

What are you grateful for today?

 

Last night while looking up at the stars on the deck, a mountain lion screamed over and over at Grand Lake, CO…  I wrote this to Anitra to memorialize the feeling in that moment:

 

Night Screams – March 30, 2013

 

The stars so bright in the mountain sky

A moment’s glimpse of ancient history

Amid the melting snow, a strange sound

Over and over, bone chilling screams

We go inside, seeking safety and warmth

The lion of the mountain, her voice so confident,

Rules the night.

 

Smoke Wallin Vanderbilt Address – 2008

I came across this video of my address at Vanderbilt back in 2008.  I had tremendous feedback from this from those in the audience.  I thought I’d share…

 Vanderbilt University – Alumni Weekend 2008  J. Smoke Wallin the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus and incoming President of the Vanderbilt Owen Alumni Board introduced by Jim Bradford, Dean of the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management.  Smoke addresses students, faculty, staff and prospective students on what matters in life, business and friendship.  He reflects on some difficult experiences.

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