As I awakened this morning, I thought of the freedoms provided us by the millions of American veterans that have gone before. I had the privilege of interacting with a Va Vets organization during the recent election and I was amazed at their energy, confidence and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

I am not a veteran myself so I cannot provide a legacy like theirs to his world. However, their example set my thoughts in motion. Some other people who leave a legacy for us are ministers, musicians, and even builders of all types.

Our churches exist because dutiful ministers have followed God's call and struggled through good times and bad despite the frequently despicable actions of congregation members seeking power and self recognition. For that I am thankful for a place to worship that is profoundly beautiful in intention and facility.

When I was about to graduate from Drewry Mason HS I spent the Summer working for a construction crew. This taught me the value of the men and women who "make" our world and sometimes even fix it. I cut down trees, cleared trash, poured foundations and even did some basic carpentry work. To this day I can go by those condominiums and homes and feel proud to have played a part in their construction. I am thankful for the millions of tradesmen who make our world work and provide for us.

Perhaps of most importance to me is the legacy given to me by musicians who have gone before. To this day, I'm not sure how a small town guy from Ridgeway VA gets to NY, the Juilliard, and the classical music traditions that I cherish now so closely. I got there because of the legacy of the musicians who helped me. I am the musician I am today because of my colleagues, peers, friends, family and because of the thousands of musicians who have gone before. I learn from their artistry. I am inspired by their technique, spirit, and elegant performances. I strive to remember as I create. I am not the first and will not be the last. Their legacy and mine intertwine to "make" music for today's world.

I pray that my legacy to this world will be built with music, ministry and excellence. I am thankful to so many who have sacrificed their lives for me to have the freedoms and opportunities that I now enjoy.

On this Veterans Day 2008, I offer up my words to honor those who have provided their legacy to me.


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