Seventy years ago, on June 6 1944, America’s greatest generation landed at Normandy, traversed the English Channel, evaded barricades, barb wire, coastal barriers, cannon and machine gun emplacements, established a beachhead, and a year later freed Europe. A hundred thousand men, transportation, support, supplies, embarked on an endeavor never seen before or since. General Eisenhower wrote his short note saying to blame him, and him alone if things went wrong.
My wife’s father was among those climbing the cliffs on D-Day. Eight members of my grandfather’s family made the ultimate sacrifice during the war. This was the generation that still touches all of us.
Growing up in Clayton, MO ( a St. Louis suburb) I knew the stories of just a couple of our high school graduates. Charles Shaw, an Army Air Corps pilot, was shot down over Germany, captured, and escaped 8 times from POW camps where he was held. He returned to become a prominent lawyer in St. Louis. Jack Taylor, a Navy F6F Hellcat pilot fought in the Pacific. Jack returned to St. Louis and operating out of a garage of a car dealer, with 7 cars, started a small company renting to insurance company customers whose cars were being repaired. He eventually named his company for the aircraft carrier he served on, to honor those he served with. Enterprise Rent-A-Car is now the world’s largest rental car company, includes the National and Alamo brands, is still located in Clayton, MO, and is still a family company. Over the course of the last 58 years, Jack has donated over $100 million to charitable projects, many directed to support our nation’s veterans. His philosophy “Take care of customers and employees first, profits will follow” I know we can all embrace. As for Enterprise’s slogan of “We’ll pick you up” – well that originated here in Orlando, Florida.
What a legacy this generation left us, each of us.
And here we are, the sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters of America’s greatest generation. Every day I wake up asking why am I here. On this day of remembrance I realize one reason I’m here is because of these men and women. Nothing I do will ever compare to America’s greatest generation, however, each of us has our own “why” story.
My “why” is to improve the lives of my clients, to help them achieve their goals, to allow them to better serve their customers, to maybe even begin to build the next Enterprise, to reach for a lasting legacy. Everything I do is for their benefit – that’s the “why”. The “how” we can have a conversation about. Are you ready for success? If you would like to know more you can call me at 407-269-7490.