Independence Day- Grateful To Many

July 1, 2011

Our country has a long tradition of citizens standing up for what they thought was right, or against what they thought was wrong.

Our history books were replete with stories about the Boston Tea Party, the Stamp Act, impressment of American sailors into the British Navy.

Reading the Stamp Act

Image

Thanks for your courage.

Civil War, Womens Suffrage.

During my teenage years I witnessed people taking to the streets to right wrongs,  to push for civil rights, and to protest the draft.

This is the Selma I’d like to remember

Joan Baez poster

 

This is the Selma I saw on the Evening News.

Tough times to be a teenager

Vietnam protest

I don’t remember ever seeing very much coverage of people going to work, stepping forward at the  armed forces recruiting station and swearing an oath to serve their country, but they did. And they still do.

R Day. West Point. A grateful nation thanks you, New Cadets!

West Point AOG

My family has some stories about this. About how my namesake, Miles Sr., joined the army cavalry back in WWI. Sounds dashing, but the assignment in the cavalry in those days for farm boys from Ohio was all about the barn, not about riding.

My father, Miles Jr., was first in his graduating class of 1942 to enlist in the Army. He got some great training at the New England Aircraft School and as ground crew chief was responsible for the maintenance of a number of B-17’s over Europe.

Thanks Dad.

My daughter, Emma, and her husband, are deployed in Europe with the U.S. Army where they command helicopter units.

I’ll bet your family has some stories like this too. I hope you share them this weekend. They are important ways to share your family’s values.

I got a pass.  I got a university deferrment. then I got a high draft number. No crazy asian war for me.

So, when they bring up the flag at the community band concert  this weekend, I’ll be the first to jump up (or try to be) to salute, not the flag that goes by, but the sacrifices and love gifts of all who have worn the uniform of  a U.S. Armed Service, who stepped forward and chose   “Duty, Honor, Country” instead of “What’s in it for me?”

I'll be on my feet.

Who made personal sacrifices, not to attack the enemy in front of them, but rather to assure the safety and well being of the families and friends behind them. And our way of life.

I thank those folks, for assuring that I have choices.

And on the 4th, this year, I’m going to  exercise my ability to choose.

I will choose to stand up for old Glory.

I will choose to thank the veterans I meet for their service.

And I will choose to respectfully listen to what it is that they have to say.

And I’m going to choose to grill a steak.

Happy Independence Day.

I choose to do this for  the sake of those brave souls in uniform who are out there eating something less than steak as they patrol and otherwise do their duty.

They wouldn’t have it any other way.


Interdependence Day

July 2, 2010

This year I am going to celebrate Independence day as Interdependence Day. I am going to let my US side and my Canadian sides work together.  I invite you to join me, independently interdependent.  

I just love Independence Day and its northern cousin, Canada Day. Actually, I remember Canada Day as Dominion Day, but that just proves I’m an old fogie with Canadian roots.  

PMPA- North American means US and CANADA.

Independence Day is a US federal holiday commemorating our Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776. While most of us celebrate this holiday with patriotic displays, fireworks, cookouts, and much nationalistic fervor, I see this holiday as  celebrating the triumph and  coming of age of reason and representative government   vs.  the old  myth of divine right of kings and blind obedience. To me Independence Day is as much about the wisdom and intellectual achievement of our founding fathers as it is about nationalistic pride.  

My father would say “Son, you think too much.”  He would probably be right, but hey, he kept me well stocked in books and allowed me all the freedom to read that a kid could have.  

Thanks Dad.  

Unlike the US Independence Day holiday which recognizes separation, the Dominion Day Canada Day holiday recognizes the “uniting” of the 4  British North American colonies and the province of Canada  (which ended up split into two provinces, Ontario and Quebec) into a new  Kingdom- Canada, within the British Empire. This happened on July 1, 1867 according to the history books.  

I was never able to understand that particular arrangement, as the King of Canada would have been the King of England.  “How can the king of one country be the king of another country, and both be independent?” My  Canadian mother never got it through my thoroughly US cranium, though she tried. But then again, I was an intellectually unruly child…  

But the idea of the American side of my family celebrating independence and the Canadian side celebrating continued interdependence gives me the real subject for today’s blog:    

Interdependence day  

This year I am going to celebrate Independence Day as Interdependence Day. I am going to let my US side and my Canadian sides work together.  I invite you to join me, independently interdependent.  

Here are four hallmarks of our independent interdependence:  

  1. Citizenship
  2. Stewardship
  3. Diversity and Coexistence
  4. Sustainable Improvement

   Citizenship  

Citizenship to me is a code word for personal responsibility. To not do things against my own interest. Or against the interest of my “neighbors.”  As individuals first, but also collectively. Citizenship includes loyalty to the principles of our Constitution, and obedience to lawful authority;  But to me it is far more than that. Citizenship is a way of living in the world. Citizens are part of the solution process, not the problem.   

Citizenship problem.

  Under my definition, BP right now has a “Citizenship Problem.”  

Stewardship  

Part of that “Citizenship thing” is recognizing that our actions and decisions affect others,  and so we need to behave responsibly. Our shops use lean manufacturing processes to eliminate waste and so to not dissipate valuable resources that will be needed by others in the future.  Our shops are good stewards of the resources we have. While the press paints businessmen as stingy and greedy, the fact is that our drive to eliminate waste is to be good stewards of what we have, not just  to reduce costs. We have capital, employees, customers, and intellectual means of production that enable us, our families, our employees and their families, and our communities to  thrive. Recognizing this interdependence helps us realize that all of us can lead efforts for stewardship  for a better shop, home, community, state, province, country, and world.  

We’ll reserve comment on this aspect  regarding BP…  

Diversity and Coexistence  

My office is different than your office. Your house is different than mine. Your shop is different from hers. Her business model is different from his.  

PMPA’s North American Trade Association  model demonstrates how all of us, despite the fact that we compete, can also profit by sharing and approaching our markets and processes differently. By behaving as neighbors, professionals with a common mission, to make the parts that make today’s technologies serve all of us with improved safety, quality, convenience and quality of life.  

Viva la difference! It is not enough for us to tolerate differences, We need to embrace them. It is the richness of approaches that assures that all opportunities for profit (and service!) out of a given market or resource are achieved. ‘One size fits all’ never fits anybody real well.  

If you don’t like diversity, or differences, well, then have you considered  opening a shop in say, North Korea?  

Sustainable Improvement  

When I was growing up, the word “Progress” was as widely used as the word “Green” is today. I  like “Progress” better. Progress was generally used to mean growth. Improvement. Better. I am a big fan of continuous improvement. I have an internal principle that asks “is it better because of what I did?” I want my kids to do better than I did. I want this years’ business to be better than last years’.  

But what we didn’t ask back in the day when “Progress” was as worshipfully served as “Green” seems to be today was, “What is the cost?And how do we measure progress?”  

“Better for me,” at the cost of  “worse for you” is no bargain.  So I ask if the improvement is sustainable,  a genuine improvement? Or is it not sustainable? You know, like a Bernie Madoff Investment Fund Business Model?  

Sustainable improvement brings us back to Citizenship and Stewardship. Embracing Diversity- Coexistence helps us measure the impact of our improvements on all of us who might be impacted. Recognizing that we’re all impacted drives us to wanting to make improvements.  

Final thought  

Independence? Yes, I value that as giving me the agency to make the right decisions.  

Interdependence? Yes, for you and I, and approximately 6.7 billion other folks; 307 million of whom celebrate Independence Day, 33 million of whom celebrate Dominion Day Canada Day, we are also interdependent. That is why Citizenship/Stewardship (Quality, Professionalism, Fair Dealings, Service to others, and Mastery of our Craft) is so important.  

Happy Independence Day. Happy Interdependence Day. May your dedication remain focused on Citizenship, Stewardship,  Diversity and Coexistence, and Sustainable Improvement. No matter on which side of the border you live or make parts.  

Ultimately, we’re all customers. I’ll do my best. How about you?  

Happy Interdependence / Independence Day!

Photo credit  

Cute Flag Wavers

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