Thanksgiving message from:
Douglas J. Murray, NMMI’s Academic Dean, and retired Brigadier General for the USAF
The events of 1620 in Plymouth, Massachusetts that provide the historical backdrop for the Thanksgiving holiday are portrayed as either a joining of hands between the Pilgrims and Native Americans or the beginning of three centuries of an altogether different relationship. One Native American, the Shawnee Tecumseh, however, expressed the real meaning of the day when he said, “When you arise in the morning, give thanks to the morning light for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” To this, O Henry would add, “This is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.” But why is that? Surely not because we are the only nation that sets aside a day to give thanks. For example, our neighbor to the north, Canada has a Thanksgiving celebration in October. So what is it that would make this a uniquely American Holiday? We can look first to the words of Abraham Lincoln in his proclamation on October 3, 1863. “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessing of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God …. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States …. to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficient Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
This proclamation was written at a time when the continued existence of the Union was challenged as never before. In the end, however, that challenge was met and America was strengthened by it. Today, the nation is again challenged internally and externally and that has caused our friends to question our commitment to the principles and values upon which the nation was founded. It has emboldened our enemies.
This year, 2014, marks two anniversaries that remind us of the challenges our democracy has faced and how we have met them during our 200-plus year history. First, 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the First World War, a war that would thrust this nation into a global leadership role that would mark the 20th century as the American Century. The second is the 25th anniversary of the end of the Cold War. The two dates are the bookends delineating the challenges and the responses that have preserved not just America, but a way of life built up the ideals of freedom, equality, human dignity and the value of the individual. No event better represents that victory than the destruction of the Berlin Wall beginning on November 9, 1989 and the series of events that followed to include the uniting of East and West Germany, the liberation of all of Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was clearly a November to remember and in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficial Father.” But the triumph of American values and principles in 1989 would not long go unchallenged by those who realized if left unchecked it would end their authoritarian if not demonic regimes. Thus the success we celebrated on 11/9 was met by the horrors of 9/11. But again, this nation met the challenge and in the words of President Bush, “those that had planned the attack would hear from us”.
To remember, celebrate and give thanks on one day for the preservation if not triumph of these characteristics and values that define us is what makes this a uniquely American holiday. This holiday is about giving thanks for the nation, its people and the nobility of character that marks both. A former Prime Minister of Great Britain wrote “that nobility isn’t about being nicer, better or more successful than anyone else. It is a feeling about the country. It is a devotion to the American ideal that at a certain point transcends class, race, religion or upbringing. That idea is about values: freedom, the rule of law, democracy. It is also about the way you achieve: on merit, by our own efforts and hard work. But it is most of all that in striving for and protecting that ideal you as an individual take second place to the interest of the nation as a whole. It is what makes the country determined to overcome its challenges.”
However, while Thanksgiving is a day of remembrance and above all gratitude, the values, ideals, principles and sacrifice that we celebrate can only be sustained if we make future generations aware. That task is for all of us who are responsible for educating our youth, parents, teachers, and administrators. Clearly, this is something that all of us at NMMI do quite well. The nation’s founding fathers recognized that over 200 years ago when they established the system of public education, unequalled in any nation. That fact is something to be grateful for and also makes Thanksgiving a uniquely American holiday.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his November 20, 1960 annual Thanksgiving proclamation declared, “Let us hope that someday, under a benevolent providence and through the best use of the world’s God-given resources, each nation will have reason to celebrate its own Thanksgiving Day.” Maybe then, it will no longer be just a uniquely American day.
Colleagues, from my family to each of yours, I wish you the very best for a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the break.
NMMI Sports Press
It was a tough opening game for the Colt basketball team and new head coach James Kelt, as they fell 76-37 to Lovington at Cahoon Armory Tuesday.
The game was close early, but after that it was all Wildcats. NMMI only trailed 13-11 after one quarter, on an opening field goal Francisco Galvez; a pair of treys by senior Mack Brown and another 3 by Randall Major.
But 5A Lovington and its 6-foot-8 center, Stephen Lennox, reeled off nine straight points to open the second quarter, holding the Institute to 10 free throws — nine by Brown — and only one field goal to lead 38-23 heading into the locker room.
“Hey, Lovington’s a good ball club and that big guy of theirs, he was able to get in sometimes, and we just haven’t been able to work much against the big guy,” Kelt said. “But I was impressed at the beginning of the game.”
Lennox opened the second half with another of his team-high 22 points — Brown led all scorers with 23 — then the Colts came back with a 7-1 run, cutting the ’Cat lead to 10. But Lovington then held NMMI scoreless for more than seven minutes, stringing together 21 unanswered points before Evan Tirado finally broke the string two minutes into the fourth quarter.
The Colts managed another 3-pointer by Brown and a field goal by Peter DeGroot, but the rest of the game belonged to the Wildcats.
Kelt said he saw some bright spots, and 3-point shooting was certainly one of those spots. Brown was 4-for-7 from outside, and overall, the Colts were 5-for-16 from beyond the arc.
“We’re trying to open up for a lot of people, not just Mac,” the coach said. “We don’t want to be a one-dimensional team, and I think once they start seeing some things, like on the floor, they’ll get a chance to understand the concepts that we do. We’re trying to do a read-and-react, and that’s what we’ve got to get the to understand.”
NMMI was also a solid 10-for-18 from the charity stripe — Brown was 9-for-10 — but then things trailed off. Kelt said the team goal was to shoot at least .400 from the field, and they only managed .306, a mere 11-for-36.
“There’s times we shoot when we shouldn’t and vice versa,” Kelt said. “I think part of it is they’ve got to learn each other. They don’t know each other well enough right now.”
They won’t have a lot of time to do that before their next game. NMMI travels to 3A Loving Thursday, then head home for the Thanksgiving break before heading to Mescalero Dec. 5.
Five other Colts scored Tuesday, but Brown was the only one in double figures. Besides Lennox, three other ’Cats scored in double figures: Kenneth Oliver had 16 points; Sergio Sanchez had 11; and Jonnas Rueda 10.
NMMI Sports Press
It took a while for the Lady Colt basketball team to get on track Tuesday, but while they lost to the Roswell C team 30-27, the improvement from start to finish in their season opener was obvious.
“I think we got better with each quarter, and we learned,” said coach Marisha Olesinski. “Every quarter was better and better, and I think we finished pretty good. After the first quarter, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. It’s going to be a tough night.’ But those girls have never played together. It was their first game. They started practice just a few weeks ago just to get to know each other. So I think for this short period of time I think they did good and they picked up the defense and the shots started to go in.”
The shots did not fall early, as most of the game involved running back and forth and turning the ball over. Sierra Walker had a chance to put NMMI up 14 seconds into the game when she was fouled, but missed both shots. The Coyotes were hot from the outside, nailing three treys in the first quarter.
Katie Flury finally put the Colts on the board with 5:54 on the clock, and after Grace Tompkins put in a field goal with eight seconds left, Roswell led 11-3.
The Coyotes stretched their lead to 18-4 early in the second, but after a long scoreless stretch by both teams, NMMI began a 9-0 run that stretched into the second half. It was 18-8 Roswell heading into the locker room, but the Colts pulled within five halfway through the third stanza before a Coyote free throw and a final trey made it 22-15 after three.
Roswell went back up 28-17 with 3:12 left in the game, but the Institute battled back, getting baskets from Selena Rivali, Walker, Flury and Tompkins to pull within three before time finally ran out.
“It’s always a process,” Olesinski said of the slow improvement. “So we have to just be patient and work on those basics and get better.”
Walker was the only player in double figures, tallying 11 for the night. Flury had 8 for NMMI, while Victoria Clements tallied 9 for Roswell and Youanna Hernandez.
The Colts will head out to Thanksgiving break Wednesday, meaning they’ll only get one day of practice before they play Gateway Dec. 2. Still, Olesinski isn’t too concerned.
“You know what? It is what it is and I’m pleased with it,” she said. “They never gave up. And that’s what I like about my girls. They always fight, and no matter what team they fight, or how good or not good we play, they never give up and they play as tough as they can and that’s what I can ask from them. So I’m happy, even though we lost. And I told them, it’s not always about winning and losing, but just give your best and give the effort and they did tonight.”
There is a special kind of relationship that RAT buddies tend to have that can’t compare to anything else. Maybe it is the fact that you all go through the same struggles and accomplishments at the same time. Or maybe it is because those were the only ones you had as a RAT when you were having a bad day at this place and your family was back at home. No matter what, there is a unique bond that is shared that is irreplaceable.
This past homecoming in October, 2014, so many former cadets came back to the old post to visit the place that helped shaped them into who they are today, and see all of their old friends. This time of the year is always so reassuring because you get to see how successful the people who leave this place come to be, and you get to hear all of the lovely stories that took place when they were a cadet. It’s always interesting to see how things have changed completely over time. Though seeing all of my successful RAT buddies who have accomplished great things so far gives me inspiration and desire to keep striving for the best so that one day when we all come back for a reunion, we can share all of our stories, great stories with each other.
This picture has RAT buddies that have been gone for three years now. Some graduated last year, but the point is that no matter how long it has been or how far away they live, NMMI always remains an important part in their lives and they make sure to come back every once in awhile. These are the people you will have connections with throughout your entire life, and if one day you need some help, there is no doubt you can call up any one of them and they would be happy to help you in any way they can. That is what this place is all about. NMMI creates true friendships that last a lifetime.
After around a hundred days, Thanksgiving is almost here. All cadets get to spend a week off from school with their friends and or family, and be thankful for all the good things we have had this year. I am pretty sure that almost every cadet gets excited about this break to be away from school and have some fun. When I was a new cadet I counted every single day, even every minute, until I was already in the car on my way home. I still get excited for the break even though it is my third year at the institute. This week is for us to have a great time, eat good food and get a good rest, but always keeping in mind not to get in trouble. Some cadets are lucky to live close to Roswell, but some other have to travel couple hours, but it is totally worth it. After Thanksgiving break, two and a half weeks will be left in the semester. It is not the time to be lazy, but to finish the semester strong. Finish up projects and study hard for finals.