From The Desk of Tray Smith - July

From the Desk (or, this month, from the Peterbilt)

As always, this time of year I write this month’s article from the Peterbilt because we are either at the Goodguys in Des Moines or we're in Columbus, Ohio. Every year I try to make a point about what the 4th of July means to me. Well, this year will be no different.

This is my favorite holiday every year. A time for all of us to step back a moment and really think about what freedom means to each of us. I never had the honor of serving in our military - a crisp autumn night on a football field in Greenland, Arkansas took care of that. However, I have had several family members and employees that have served. They volunteered to give control of their freedom away for a certain number of years so that you and I could have freedom. To me, this is the ultimate honor of freedom, to give yours away so that others may enjoy the taste of it.

I traveled a few months ago to Washington DC and took time to visit Arlington Cemetery, the US Marine Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial. I was able to bring back a picture of the name of a man from my hometown that gave his life for the cause of freedom in Vietnam. Whether you agree with that war or war at all, it still happens. I wish war didn’t happen, and that we didn’t have to send our bravest young men and women into combat for the cost of our freedom. Unfortunately, that is the cost of freedom; it is the lives of those brave young persons. Most of the time, they are fresh out of high school or just young enough to have known a little bit of adulthood.

So take a moment this 4th of July season and ask yourself "what is the cost of freedom?" and give thanks to those who have given theirs up so that you and I can have freedom. Most of all, take a moment and thank those, in whatever way you see fit, who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Thank you, men and women of the armed forces. Without you and your sacrifice, we wouldn’t have the freedom we have today. From the battles at Concord and Yorktown, the Battle of New Orleans, the Alamo, the great and bloody Civil War, the hills of San Juan, the Arden, the Beaches of Normandy, outside of Bastogne, the Island of Midway, the Chosin Reservoir, the Jungles of the Southeast Asia, the Siege of Khe Sanh, and the deserts of the middle east. Thank you, you have done your nation proud whether you have served in the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the Marine Core, the National Guard, or the Coast Guard. Thank you for all that you have done. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Well, that is all for this month from the Desk of Tray Smith.