Posts Tagged ‘Weldon Long’

America at its Best: Weldon Long

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013


America at its Best: Weldon Long, Hope and Redemption

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD, 2013
All Rights Reserved

You can’t have everything in life. There’s always a price to pay.  Weldon Long

The road to the Medal of Honor Convention in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was long and filled with many opportunities toMogGraphic_sm_8282 learn about the things that really matter in life.  During the journey, I was fortunate to meet a classic Face of America on its best day, Weldon Long.

As some of you know, I research, write and produce America at its Best commentaries for Marty Wolff’s Business Builders Show. In August, while Kitch and I were dealing with a number of challenges relating to the preparation for the production in Gettysburg, I had the good fortune to produce a commentary about Weldon Long. This is an excerpt from that commentary:

Weldon Long looks like a happy person. He talks with the confidence of a successful businessman, and he speaks with the energy and enthusiasm of an evangelist.

Strange as it may seem, the roots of Long’s achievements can be found in the dark caverns of his criminal past.

His 18 year journey into degradation began when he started drinking at 14. Nine years later he was convicted and imprisoned for his first felony.

Weldon Long sm

By his own admission, he was really good at wasting his life.  His downward spiral ended in a jailhouse library when he found a copy of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Today his compelling story of change and business success inspires thousands of people who read his books and listen to his lectures.

His message:

We become what we think about.

Those six words resonated with me, and they provided a subtext for everything I did during our location shoot at the Medal of Honor Convention and after.

It was not surprising to learn from the recipients of the golden pentagram that they thought about saving the lives of their “brothers.” They made choices because they were properly trained. They controlled their fear, and they did not permit their anxieties or the danger and inconvenience of the moment get in the way of doing the right thing.

They celebrated their comrades in battle, and they frequentlyTown Hall made reference to unsung, everyday heroes who are not in the military.

In my opinion, Weldon Long is one of those heroes.

Here are but a few things I learned about life and values from Weldon during a recent conversation:

1. We have to put our kids in a situation where they have to make a choice and we must give them the stark reality of their choices;

2. The path of least resistance is rarely the right path;

3. Follow Stephen Covey’s dictum, “Pick up both ends of the stick.” Realize there is a choice on one end and a consequence on the other;”

4. Most of the time, (99 percent) our fear is the anxiety of something that exists in our heads and in our thoughts;

5. If you can find a purpose in your suffering, then you can tolerate the suffering;

6. As we get older, we begin to see that some of the worst things in our life turned out not to be all that bad;

7. What I do to increase the possibility that I will not do something stupid is a quiet time ritual, a daily review of all the priorities in my life;

8. America is about freedom to choose, self reliance and personal responsibility;

9. Lowering the standards is a short-sighted plan;

10. If my father were alive today, I would say to him, “You don’t have to be ashamed of me anymore.”

Weldon Long is a good man with a good message and a very good heart. He respects the values the Medal of Honor represents.  

Like the Medal of Honor recipients he admires, he is a hero without the blue ribbon. He is changing lives with his message of hope, hard work, humility and personal responsibility.

His story of redemption, success, and gratitude gives hope to parents all over America who know the emptiness, disappointment and sadness of his father’s experience.

His is a classic example of America at its Best, and his face is a brilliant portrait in the mosaic of the Face of America on its best day.

Thank you Weldon for giving us hope.

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