By Ski Ingram

“It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas.”  My favorite time of year.  Thanksgiving has just passed, a time when my family reflects on the blessings we have received this year and the love we have for each other. I was raised by goodly parents who taught me right from wrong. They also taught me to be responsible for my own actions, for which I am very grateful.  I grew up in southern California, a wonderful place to live in the 50’s and 60’s. I am truly a blessed man. 

I served in the Army from 1969 to 1982. In 1982 I was hired by the Long Beach California Police Department, retiring in 2004.  It was while in the Army and as a police officer that my love of country and the freedoms we all enjoy was solidified. I have been blessed to have travelled to many foreign countries, even fighting in Viet Nam to preserve the freedom of the South Vietnamese people. I learned to not take for granted the freedom and liberty we enjoy in America.

I am, what some may call, a happy warrior.  I know and understand the fight America is in from progressives and liberals today.  I see that many of our elected officials do not have the best interest of this country or its citizens in mind.  I see many, if not most, spending their time seeking more power and not caring who they harm in doing so. I see many people becoming discouraged by this and at times I am also.  But then I remember a sign that was printed on the wall of one of our buildings in the Airborne Ranger company I served with in Viet Nam. It said, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Another saying I learned at an early age is “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”

As I watch the news, I see people from all over the world flocking to this country so that they can live in peace and freedom, something that so many in this country take for granted. We are witnessing the Chinese people fighting for their freedom. Something they have never been able enjoy. They have even less freedom today with the draconian Covid laws that are being enforced throughout the country by their oppressive government.  I see the Iranian people taking great personal risks to fight for their freedom from the harsh laws their government has forced on them for more that forty years.

I am thankful to live in a country with an inspired Constitution and a Bill of Rights that protect us from government overreach. I am thankful for the first amendment to our Constitution protecting our right to free speech and religion.  I am thankful for the second amendment (the right to bear arms) and the fourth amendment (the right to be secure in our houses, papers, and effects). I worry every day that they may be lost through apathy and an uneducated and uninformed populace.

I understand why, after the mid-term elections, many of you may be saying to yourself what do I have to be thankful for. I understand that many of you may be disappointed.  However, if you think about it, it really wasn’t too bad.  After all, the conservatives regained the House of Representatives meaning Washington is no longer ruled by one party. Many years ago, I learned not to count my chickens before they hatch as a way to not be disappointed when things do not go as I would like. I would have been happy if the “Red Wave” had happened, but I wasn’t really expecting it. My happiness does not depend on what takes place in politics.

My happiness in life comes from the love I give my family and the love they give in return.  My wife is the best woman for me in this life and in the life to come. We have been married for 43 wonderful years.  I am thankful for her every day.  We have been blessed with four children who are very successful in their own right.  I am eternally grateful for their love and support.  There is nothing in this world that I would not do for them.  We have seven grandchildren ranging in age from four to twelve years.  I am very thankful for them as they keep me young at heart.

It is now the month of December, a month of giving and remembering our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many believe that life on earth would be a paradise if everyone followed the example of Christ on how we should live our lives and treat each other.  I have also heard that if everyone would just live by the Scout Oath the world would be a better place in which to live. The Scout Oath says, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” The Scout Law is, “A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.”

My advice in these difficult and trying times is to be a Happy Warrior. Remember that living a good life can be a challenge, but in the end it will be worth it. This Christmas take time to remember the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the only sure way to true and lasting happiness.