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Positively Proud To Be An American

Americans Meet the Challenge!

‘Jay shares thoughts on American pride and the great resilience and strength of our beloved nation.’

Time and time again, we are tested. And, as proud Americans, we rise to the challenge each and every time. Stronger and more resolute in our commitment to the founding values of our great republic. Dedicated to the cause of freedom, liberty and equal opportunity for all. We are proud of those who came before us and are committed to continuing and building upon the progress that has been achieved. As Americans, we are optimistic – never losing sight of our bright future – confident that we can meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Without doubt, every very so often, throughout the course of our history, there have been moments that have tested the very foundations of our republic. These moments tend to be shocking and can sometimes cause fear or panic. They challenge our faith and belief in the idea of this American nation, calling into question whether our institutions are capable of withstanding the many forces whose sole intent is our downfall and whether our values and principles are worth fighting for. And yet, from the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, we have endured, thanks to a common thread found throughout each of these moments: the unwavering resilience of we, the American people.

With our troops recently withdrawing from Afghanistan on the eve of the 20th anniversary of September 11th, there are many questions circulating about our place in the world. Sometimes this American experiment of ours does not always result in the outcomes we desire. But as one veteran of both Afghanistan and Iraq recently pointed out to me, in order for this experiment to continue, it requires citizens who are willing to commit to its values and institutions, especially when they are under threat. In recent days, as I’ve reflected on the past 20 years that have seen incredible sacrifices made by so many, I have been reminded why I am always proud to be an American.

I think about the firefighters, police officers, and volunteers who selflessly put their lives on the line to aid in the rescue and then persevered in the weeks and months following 9/11 to help heal the wounds of that traumatic day. I think of the service men and women who have continued to serve in our armed forces, protecting and defending everything we hold dear here at home. I think of the countless essential workers across this country who answered and continue to answer the call during the pandemic, saving thousands of lives and keeping our nation moving forward. While some may try to lead us to believe that now is not a time to be a proud American, the courage and bravery demonstrated by the likes of those I’ve just described tells a different story. They remind us that no matter the circumstances, millions of Americans have regularly gone ‘above and beyond’ to protect and preserve the values we cherish. And for that, I will remain forever proud to be an American, each and every day.

Thunder Across New Hampshire!

This past weekend the Pease International TradePort hosted tens of thousands of onlookers, veterans’ organizations, business and civic leaders, and armed forces members past and present to welcome and appreciate the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. For three days, the opportunity to witness the awesome power of the United States Air Force was pure delight – as was the amazing display of patriotism by one and all. Seeing it first-hand was especially rewarding for me, as our son Lincoln is currently on duty flying the F-18 fighter jet for the U.S. Navy, and I have not yet had the opportunity to watch him fly. Seeing the Thunderbirds, however, gave me a wonderful, up close glimpse of what our nation’s aviators do day in and day out in defending our freedoms.

Dating back to the 1950’s, the unit was officially known as the 3600th Air Demonstration Squadron. Having no ‘catchy’ name, a contest was held at Luke AFB in June of 1953 to select one. And of course, they selected a great name – the USAF Thunderbirds! The Thunderbirds are meant to inspire the next generation of pilots and be a source of pride for our military - performing nearly thirty aerial demonstrations across the country every year and doing it with a crew of 120 members spanning 30 airfields.

Along with so many others, Karen and I had a chance to share in the wonder and powerful presence of the Thunderbirds with friends and family. When not at the airstrip, we heard the powerful jets fly over our home in Portsmouth and witnessed the jet streams left behind by these precision aviators. What a thrill! It really does make you proud to be an American when you hear these jets fly over – roaring over-head. As one person described, that is the sound of freedom!!! And, assuredly, it is!

Patriots Planting Trees of Honor and Remembrance

Last week before the opening Patriots game in Foxboro, the team’s owner in conjunction with the other major New England sports teams took some time out of the celebration of the beginning of a new season to pay tribute to those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While this service was overshadowed by the kickoff weekend of America’s favorite sport, I think it is important to touch on the thoughtfulness and meaning that went into the dedication.

Away from the large crowd of the packed stadium, Robert Kraft on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 dedicated a garden near the entrance to the stadium that brought together the New England states and honored all those who died. Six trees were planted, one for each state and at their base they placed stones with the names of those who died in each of the six states. The stones were created by the players, cheerleaders, and employees of the Kraft businesses.

9/11 was a day that forever shaped our country and it is important that even as we continue on with our lives that we take time to remember how we came to be here and the events that shaped our path. I applaud the Kraft family and the players for remembering that while we live in the greatest country on earth, there are those who have died as others tried to take that from us. It is my hope that all of those going to enjoy a great Sunday football game will stop and take a moment to reflect before enjoying the rest of the day's activities!

Positive Profile of the Week: Peter Kelleher

This week we are delighted to highlight a true New Hampshire hero in the field of human services, Peter Kelleher. Peter is the CEO of Nashua based Harbor Care and has been working tirelessly for the past 40 years to help so very many deserving people in need throughout the community. And over that course of time, he has developed a truly intriguing and successful model.

Peter has a resume in social work expertise that is second to none. From working in the social services division at MIT to aiding people in need at the Massachusetts Tuberculosis Treatment Center, Peter has been a compassionate provider of top-notch quality care to those in need all over New England. And especially veterans - who can receive amazing care and housing programs thanks to Peter and his dedicated team. Peter has played a key role in the national effort to help end veterans’ homelessness. His passion is contagious and inspiring.

I encourage you all to take a moment to learn about Harbor Care and its mission and especially what Peter and his team are doing for our veterans. This past Wednesday, Karen and I had a chance to join community leaders from throughout New Hampshire visit Peter and his team in Nashua to tour the Harbor Care Facility. Remarkably, what started out as a one person operation nearly forty years ago, today is comprised of over 350+ medical and social care professionals and is supported by a $36 million annual budget. And you guessed it, Peter was the first employee of Harbor Care back in 1982!

Thank you, Peter for your visionary and selfless efforts that are truly making a difference for those in need.

Quotes of the Week: Proud to be an American

"America is hope. It is compassion. It is excellence. It is valor."

Paul Tsongas

“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We

will always be prepared, so we will always be free.”

Ronald Reagan

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."

Harry S. Truman

"Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history."

John McCain

"America—it is a fabulous country, the only fabulous country; it is the only place where miracles not only happen, but where they happen all the time."

Thomas Wolfe


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