With young men like this, there’s hope for the future

It is difficult to be optimistic about our future when surrounded by the news of the world we have created for our children. Threats to our nation abound, from a slumping economy, rising drug use, and crime, to international violence and political scandals, to ongoing wars, as well as natural and manmade disasters. Politicians, athletes, and celebrities behaving badly continue to set poor examples for our children while garnering all of the undeserved publicity. There are so many pitfalls that lie before our youth. Yet, each week, I am encouraged by stories in The Blount Countian of young people earning awards, scholarships, and diplomas and those entering military service and completing their training.

The Blount Countian hit a homerun in the June 8th edition by shining a well-deserved spotlight on two outstanding young men from Susan Moore High School.

Somewhere, somehow, and in the midst of worldly turmoil, somebody is getting it right. I am in awe of the heroic actions of Lance Corporal Joshua Fields who earned one of the military’s highest awards for bravery while serving our country in Afghanistan. After his team leader was killed, and while under fire, Joshua took action and saved himself and his fellow Marines while suppressing an enemy attack.

The other young man of note is Daniel Jackson, the 2011 valedictorian for Susan Moore High School. Daniel’s speech was inspiring, insightful, and was infused by his faith. These two young men are men of action and that is what we need now and into the future. These gentlemen are problem solvers that set examples for their peers and the rest of us. Thanks to men like these and other outstanding young Blount Countians, there is hope for the future of this nation.

Leaders are not born; they are made. The families, communities, schools, and churches that influenced Joshua and Daniel got it right. It is a big, ugly, wonderful world outside the borders of Blount County and our families and communities are challenged with teaching our children this fact and giving them skills to survive and thrive. Improving the world starts with brightening the corner where you are.

Our nation exists because ordinary people have done extraordinary things. The future of our nation depends on what we teach our children today and the examples we set for them to follow in spite of the world falling apart around us.

I wish these fine young men the very best in every endeavor and hope that the outstanding youth of Blount County today become our leaders of tomorrow. If you can read this, thank a teacher and thank a veteran.

Congratulations, Daniel Jackson. Semper Fidelis, Joshua Fields.

Keith Hamby