President's Message: A Veterans Day Salute

Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021 By MBA President Thomas M. Bond
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MBA President Thomas M. Bond

Today is Veterans Day, an important occasion to give thanks to all the men and women of the United States armed forces who have served our great country.

We all likely know or have known several veterans in our lives. Veterans are fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, coworkers and friends … ordinary people in our communities who make extraordinary sacrifices when they answer the call to serve. 

While on active duty, they courageously go wherever they are needed and do whatever is asked to respond to conflicts and natural disasters, often at great personal peril. In times of unrest as well as in times of peace, these brave individuals put their own lives at risk, leave families behind, and place their livelihoods and dreams on hold in service to something greater than themselves: our freedoms. 

This selfless commitment is why veterans are so deserving of our collective gratitude and support. 

We can learn a lot from the values that are instilled in our military men and women who take an oath to uphold, defend and protect our Constitution and our country. Service, sacrifice, honor and valor are a way of life in the military and traits that we can all strive to emulate.

It’s not surprising that many veterans continue to live by these values long after their military service has ended. As members of the bar, we’re particularly appreciative of the fellow lawyers and judges in our community who served our country and continue to serve others through their chosen profession.

Today, as we take time to express our gratitude for all that our veterans have given us, I want to recognize a veteran whom we lost last month who was one of our country’s greatest leaders: Colin Powell, a retired general and the first Black American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as U.S. secretary of state. Both as a soldier and a statesman, Secretary Powell always put his country first and led as much by his actions as with his words.

I want to conclude by sharing some of his inspiring words — the words of wisdom he chose to live by, as described in his 2021 memoir, “It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership” — which have resonated strongly with me.

Colin Powell’s 13 Rules of Leadership

  1. It ain't as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.

  2. Get mad, then get over it.

  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

  4. It can be done.

  5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.

  6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

  7. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.

  8. Check small things.

  9. Share credit.

  10. Remain calm. Be kind.

  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.

  12. Don't take counsel of your fears or naysayers.

  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.