July 1, 2024

Recently I visited Washington, D.C.  It seemed like everywhere I looked I saw reminders of individuals and values that paved the way for the blessings that we enjoy today. 

On a personal basis, throughout every day and especially while in Washington, D.C., I continually ask myself, “Am I being a good steward?”  My typical answer to myself is, “You can do better so learn and move on and do better.”

My group tour of the Washington, D.C. area included the Supreme Court Building, the House of Representatives conference building, Arlington National Cemetery and Mount Vernon.  I carried a Bible that was presented to me by KAI’s Department of Energy employees.  Each employee signed the Bible and several left personal messages.  The Bible is called “The Founder’s Bible” with the subtitle “The Origin of the Dream of Freedom.” As goofy as it might sound, I wanted this special Bible to be with me on my Washington, D.C. reflective tour.  I will continue to take it with me on all future trips as I make my rounds in our nation’s capital.

I will forever remember my time at Mount Vernon, President George Washington’s home.  I was surprised to learn on the tour of his home that it has ten bedrooms and some even had closets!  It was reported that during eight years of the Revolutionary War, he only got to visit his beloved homeplace a hand full of days.  I can feel his pain!

A forever heartfelt memory for me will be when I was sitting pretty much alone beside President Washington’s tomb praying and reading one of my favorite scriptures from my special Bible.  I have Bibles open to the same scripture sitting on my desk at two aircraft maintenance and modification facilities where we support military and government aircraft.  When my heart randomly tells me, I will ask a military aviator who is departing on an aircraft we have just completed if he or she will “take my book” (the Bible that sits on my desk at each facility) on a ride for me since I can’t go with them.  I normally get a “Yes sir, Mr. King” with a puzzled look, as they do not know what I am asking.  We then go into my office where the open book “lives.”  I explain to them that I cannot go with them but I want to be with them in the cockpit in spirit. If they take my book on their flight, I feel I am with them.  I want them to know that we are with them and thank them for their service.  I ask them to make a “log book flight entry” in my Bible along with any comments they wish to share. I assure them that it’s fine to share my Bible (and the mementoes that I have placed inside it to honor people) with others on the flight.  When they arrive at their base, they simply put my Bible into a Federal Express envelope that I provide and send it back to me.

The scripture that my Bibles are open to is Isaiah 40:31 and it reads as follows:

“Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”

Daily, but especially when I was in Washington, D.C., I ask myself whether we have we forgotten the principles and history of our Country.  Have we forgotten “In God, We trust?” Have we forgotten that we are a Country of immigrants that had to comply with rules and laws that were created by “We the People” and are to be enforced by us?  Have we forgotten that we are the land of opportunity for those who want to work hard and embrace our values?  The list of questions of this nature could be endless.

While in Washington, D.C. it was suggested that I check out a book written by George Washington when he was young.  As the story is told, when Washington was fourteen years old, he wanted to become a “gentleman” so he wrote down actions he observed demonstrating acts of being a “gentleman.” I purchased the recommended book, titled “Civility — George Washington’s 110 Rules for Today” by Steven Michael Selzer.  I learned that Washington originally titled his book “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.”  I must admit that this book reminded me of things that I have forgotten or failed to implement in my own life.  It also reminds me of why it is important to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.  For me, it seems like lots of things in today’s world get twisted beyond my understanding as I strive to always keep an open mind.

According to my Founder’s Bible, John Adams wrote to his wife regarding the meaning of his own signature on the Declaration of Independence.  He wrote: “I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration……..I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph in that day’s transaction.”

What does all this mean?  For me, it means that we need to focus on the fundamental basics that made us a great Country.  For me, it’s my personal commitment to truly serve God, Country and Family.  Together we must humbly and lovingly correct the wrongs of the past and preserve the good for the future.  Our joint mission as Americans is for each and every one of us to do our part with “civility” and with God’s favor!  May we demonstrate our patience and not be weary as we keep the faith and take positive action to serve and love our Country, families and neighbors, including those around the world.

May God grant us the strength to do the right things, for the right reasons, with the right attitude.  God bless you and our Country as we soar on the wings of eagles!  We are all Americans and for this we should be forever blessed.

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