All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” —Jim Rohn

My son wears a rubberband on his wrist. Daily. Why? Because his grandfather wore one.

Years ago, my father-in-law, Fred Marcangelo, used to do income taxes as a second job during the tax season. He put rubber bands on his wrist to facilitate the compiling of requisite packets of materials for his clients. My son, after the passing of his beloved grandpa, chose to stay connected to Fred through the rubberband.

Yesterday, December 7th, was the renewal of the Army/Navy football game. Fred had served in the U.S. Army in the Philippines during WW II. He was a first generation American and the product of Italian immigrants. He was a proud citizen of this country and he conveyed his sense of patriotism to his grandson. So yesterday, all of us wore rubberbands as we watched the game and rooted for the Cadets to prevail in Fred’s honor.

My wife is not a sports fan, but she was very interested in both the game and the pre-game commentary because of the event’s connection to her father, Fred. We were both struck by the narrative which explained that, however intense the rivalry leading up to game, the next day the Army and Navy would re-unite with the shared goal of defending America.

Several years ago, I taught a course in Richmond, VA. accompanied by my wife. During the weeks there, we visited Annapolis, the site of the U.S. Naval Academy. While America’s “best and brightest” high school grads prepare to enter our country’s finest universities for four years of study, career preparation (and a lot of fun for most of them), incoming entrants to our service academies have voluntarily signed on for many years of dedicated service to their country.

The young men and women of our academies are true American heroes, in much the same way that Grandpa Fred had been 75 years ago. They wear the uniform of our country, just as my father-in-law did long ago.

My son, John, wears a rubberband every day.

Thanks, Fred, for helping to make my son who he is.

P.S. Cadets and midshipmen can compete, then cooperate. Politicians, are you listening?

An inheritance is what you leave with people. A legacy is what you leave in people. – Lonsbrough