President Message 22.07.01

By: G. David Sload, President-CEO, ABC Keystone


This month we celebrate the July 4th holiday, or as the older generation knows it, “Independence Day.” For some, this is just another day off from work. But to many, it is truly the celebration of our freedom, freedom from oppression and tyranny to create a more perfect government. This day is recognized yearly in honor of the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Four months following that, our Constitution was produced. Both documents set us on a path to become the greatest country on earth.

A little over one month ago, we observed another momentous holiday, Memorial Day. Again, this was not just another day off from work. Memorial Day is a not a day of celebration, but a day of remembrance. This day was the time we remember all the men and women who have fought and given their life to preserve the freedom we enjoy.

My daughter came home to visit for Memorial Day weekend. She has an affinity for the Naval Academy in Annapolis, so she asked if we could travel there on that Memorial Day Monday. As she wandered around the grounds taking pictures, I sat on a park bench under a big old tree watching the visitors pass by. I was struck by the number of people—both young and old—and the number of veterans spending their holiday at this historic, quiet place.

As with any trip to the Academy, we always end at the information center/gift shop. Not liking to shop myself, I parked myself on a padded bench in the information area. I watched as an older gentleman using a cane for assistance stood and spoke with the information host. You could tell by the hat he wore he was a veteran that had served on the USS Woodrow Wilson. He spoke with pride about his time in the Navy, the friendships he had formed, and the brethren he had lost.

A short time into his storytelling, a younger fellow walked up and listened intently. After a time, he interrupted and stated to the older gentleman, “Thank you for your service, and yes, I too have served in the Navy having just recently completed my service.” They were representatives of two different generations, but both were proud to have served for the freedom of this great country. As I sat and listened, it became clear we have lost the fundamental reason we exist as a country. I believe every legislator and politician should have to visit one of our service academies and learn about our true roots. I also believe we are at a time where we need to return to teaching the history of this country, the good, the bad and the ugly. As I often say, “We cannot live in the past, but we need to celebrate it and learn from it.”

As you celebrate this “Independence Day,” remember the true meaning, the celebration of freedom. Let us continue to fight to make certain that our politicians and other radical groups do not destroy what this country was formed to do, to provide a more perfect union and freedom for all.

G. David Sload
G. David Sload
ABC Keystone President-CEO

Posted July 1, 2022