July 1, 2019

As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, I decided to really think about why the Fourth of July is such a special holiday and to reflect on my own publicly professed life purposes.

KA’s motto is “God, Country and Family.” For about 20 years I have looked at a pillow that an employee’s wife needlepointed for me that says “God, Family, Country.” I remember the day this pillow was proudly presented to me like it was yesterday. I was most appreciative and somewhat speechless when I received it. I was honored that someone would do such a kind thing for me but was speechless because the words were in the wrong order! I graciously accepted the gift and the pillow has been in our family room for over 20 years. There have been times when I have had heartfelt discussions with immediate family members about these powerful words and explained my priorities and why they are in a different order than the words on the pillow. Here is my attempt to share my thoughts.

GOD – My single purpose in life is to serve the one who has made all things possible. My goal is to be deemed a good servant and servant leader as I attempt to meet all of the expectations of my ultimate boss.  I have to admit that my wonderful wife and I have had the discussion that perhaps there was a reason that Jesus didn’t have a wife as he focused on and fulfilled his mission. I can recall reading words that instruct you to follow him wholeheartedly with “No Excuses.”  It’s not easy to be the wife or child of a focused solider whose mission is service to others greater than self. I am forever thankful that my wife and family understand the role of the onward marching soldier.

COUNTRY – There have been times when others have challenged me as to why my second stated priority is “Country” rather than family.  My reason is that my service to God is greater than self or family.  I serve God and those he created. Since our country was formed based on and once highly acknowledged a  commitment to God, I personally continue this fundamental path.  If a relative of mine were to undermine those things that represent and support our country, its principles or values, my family member would not be tolerated.  I take great pride in knowing that our currency says “In God We Trust” and the oaths that we take end in “So help me God.”  I honor and cherish the Christian values that were the basis of the creation of our great country. Thankfully, my focused purpose of service to God works in unison with my service to country.

FAMILY – When I think of family, it is much more than just my own flesh and blood. Family is all of God’s children. For me, my family consists of those we serve, employ and encounter regardless of race, creed or beliefs. Over the past 40 years, family has consisted of those people who have things to celebrate or cry with and people I don’t know and will never know but who have entrusted me to help support them. It’s the people who fly the aircraft we support and their loved ones.  It’s the military personnel in harm’s way that depend on the aircraft we support to help them accomplish their missions.  It’s the people whose jobs depend on our performance.  It’s the people who need income to feed their families and take care of loved ones. It’s the strangers who seek my advice or help. It’s also those of you who have taken the time to read this!

A wise lady once told me that servant leadership was “just the golden rule.” My goal is to be a good servant leader as modeled by those who came before me. Maybe the following words from the Declaration of Independence support my purpose on my watch:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed –. . .”

John Adams, one of the founding fathers of the country, explained why we celebrate the Fourth of July in a letter he wrote to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776, about the Continental Congress’ vote to declare independence. He predicted the decision would be the cause for ongoing annual celebration.  The Declaration itself was dated July 4, the day we celebrate, not July 2, when the vote was cast. I recently read the letter in “The Patriot’s Reference,” a collection of speeches and documents of the founders of our country. Here is the letter as set out in that book:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.  It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.  It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.”

“You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States.  Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory.  I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.”

As we celebrate the birth of our country, let us not forget that the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence are the three essential founding documents of our great country. May we never forget our fundamental beliefs that were the basis of the creation of our great country. Thanks be to God, from whom all blessings flow!

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.