The Importance of Giving

This past Saturday, Garrett and I had the opportunity to attend the inagural Freedom Ball in Hopkins County, Texas.

After months of hard work and preparation, the day was finally here. It exceeded all expectations I ever thought I had. The venue, Cedar Canyon, was magically beautiful. The speaker was both funny and moving. Mr. Clayton McGraw’s rendition of “Ragged Old Flag” by Johnny Cash brought me to tears like it does every time he performs it. I left with a refreshed pride in my country and for the men and women who serve it.

The event’s speaker

The event’s purpose was twofold. First, we have numerous veterans whose names do not appear on the local veterans memorial. The memorial was originally completed debt free to the tune of over $1,000,000. To say that Hopkins County is a giving area is an understatement. The next objective of the fundraising part of the event was to create a perpetual fund that would provide upkeep for the memorial. There is a kiosk at the memorial where people can search for names on the memorial.


Aside from the fundraising efforts, the Freedom Ball planning committee, which I was proud to be on, wanted to recognize the efforts of all veterans and honor veterans, which I felt was accomplished.

I feel that giving people lead a fuller life.

It’s important to me that we instill a desire to give and to help others in our children. We were able to to adopt two veterans to place their names on the wall in honor of our kids. I am thankful that my pappy’s (mom’s dad) name is on the wall already. However, many of the veterans whose names are not on the wall were men and women who were killed in action and do not have relatives who would be able to put their name on the wall. 

I was incredibly moved by a generous donation made by a well-known and highly successful businessman. Anyone who knows this family knows of their giving spirit. To acknowledge the impact he and his family made on the community and the efforts of the Freedom Ball, he was recognized at the event.Overall, the event was fun, moving and successful. I am thankful to be a part of a giving community who is able to come together for the greater good. I fully believe that giving people lead fuller lives, and I hope to encourage you today to find something you can contribute to, whether that is by donating money or time. Afterall…“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” -Greek Proverb –

Memorial Day Etiquette and Traditions


With Memorial Day quickly approaching (aside…how is it already May?!), I thought it would be fun to incorporate tradition and etiquette into one post. I have already done a general flag etiquette post, which you can find here: However, Memorial Day is a more solemn holiday, where we show our appreciation to those who have passed away either while serving our country or after doing so. Here are a couple of traditions I would encourage you to participate in to make the day even more meaningful. As with all traditions, this helps us link generations and helps maintain the importance of the holiday.

In 2000, Congress created the National Moment to make sure our troops are honored. At 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, every American is asked to pause for just one minute to honor the fallen.

Memorial Day is the perfect day to fly the USA flag. If you have a flag pole that allows the flag to be at half mast, it should remain there until noon. If you have a stationary pole, displaying it normally is perfectly fine.

If you are at a Memorial Day parade or concert where the national anthem is being played, non-military should stand and place their hand over their heart. Military, uniformed and non-uniformed alike, may salute the flag, if they so choose.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 contained an amendment to allow un-uniformed servicemembers, military retirees, and veterans to render a hand salute during the hoisting, lowering, or passing of the U.S. flag.

A later amendment further authorized hand-salutes during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel. This was included in the Defense Authorization Act of 2009, which President Bush signed on Oct. 14, 2008 (

I hope this Memorial Day you will consider some of these traditions and remember the true meaning behind the holiday. While some of us have the luxury of a day off from work, it is because of the men and women who have sacrificed for us and our country. God bless you all.