| April 24, 2012
Who do you think you are?
One of my dearest friends is Dalen McVay, an attorney in Enid, OK. A recent winner of Garfield County’s Outstanding Young Lawyer award, Dalen exudes excellence in his profession, and he is a partner in a young firm that is a prime example of entrepreneurship in the real economy. What impresses me most, however, is the way he and his partners serve with groups like AMBUCS, United Way, and Miracle League – just to name a few. Watching people like Dalen succeed and serve is inspiring, and it reminds me of the very spirit of our nation's founding. Dalen would likely not consider himself a patriot in the same vein as Washington or Jefferson, but I am convinced that business and community leaders like Dalen are exactly who the founding fathers wanted to empower when they created this Republic. That is why we must continue to work toward policies that protect those liberties and why it is important to remind ourselves what makes people like Dalen who they are.
Dalen’s maternal grandfather was one of the first to charge the beaches of Normandy and was carried off that beach after being injured by shrapnel from an explosion. He returned home to pass on the legacy of freedom, later giving Dalen the Purple Heart he had earned that day. Dalen’s paternal grandfather, Lyle, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and survived to pass on those same values to his family. In fact, Lyle was still serving his fellow citizens at age 87 by helping get residents at his assisted living center safely to the basement when a massive tornado ripped apart his hometown of Greensburg, KS.
Dalen also recently told me about his great grandfather, Dee, who spent time aboard the steamship Mongolia in the early 1900s. Through their family history, I learned the fascinating story of the first American shot fired on the high seas after the declaration of war during WWI. As undeterred as the American spirit itself, the Mongolia was the first to set sail after Germany’s implementation of a submarine blockade of Europe. On April 19, 1917, the Mongolia encountered one of those German submarines and fired the gun nicknamed “Teddy” (after President Theodore Roosevelt), an encounter which did not end well for the enemy sub.
History is filled with inspiring stories like these that call us to something greater than ourselves. While I think very highly of my friend and his family's story, these are thankfully just a few examples of the many great Americans who make this country great. So when someone asks me why the Constitution still matters or why we must be willing to preserve and protect liberty and free enterprise, I think of Dee and Lyle, and the countless Americans who have put everything on the line for freedom in one way or another. Whether serving in the military or risking your livelihood to own a farm or business and create jobs, we are all in this fight together. The founding fathers and other patriots throughout our history believed that freedom was not just as a better way of life, but the only life worth living. We owe it to these men to keep the Republic for which they fought so valiantly, and we owe it to our families to pass on that legacy.