Interesting comments from retired Colonel that just walked across America

GON

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A recently retired Colonel completed a walk across the USA to raise money for pancreatic cancer and various veteran's groups. This Colonel was an infantry officer, played football at West Point, and was engaged in combat operations multiple times in a leadership role. This Colonel grew up in Southern California, and retired out of Carlisle Barracks, in PA. The Colonel returned to his apartment in Carlisle after his walk. Below is a note he posted yesterday from Carlisle. Of note, this Colonel divorced about seven years- being married is a challenge, being married and in the military can sometimes add even more challenges.

From the retired Army Colonel:

We got our first snowfall in Pennsylvania last night. I must admit that it seemed so strange to me – a month ago I was walking through a desert in California approaching the final stretch of mountains that separated me and the Pacific Ocean. I walked to my favorite coffee shop about two blocks from my apartment, and took up my seat facing the center square of Carlisle with a cup of black coffee. This is a perfect vantage point from which to survey the front of the Cumberland County Courthouse, and the furtive traffic flowing through the center square of Carlisle. I call the people rushing about “Hobbits”. I do not mean it as a derisive term, but as a simple matter of fact. People move in their orbits, rarely deviating from their routine – in a hurry to get to wherever they are going.

I am intrigued by the menagerie of people moving in and out of the courthouse…lawyers dressed smartly and walking briskly with determination in contrast with the mostly slovenly people shuffling in mismatched clothes and smoking cigarettes. It’s a funny game we are stuck in – somehow life launches people into certain trajectories, and we rise or sink to these roles. There’s a quote from Shakespeare that we are just merely players on a stage living out our roles…
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances

Watching the people moving around the courthouse reinforced this notion…I watched a young couple walk past. A pretty woman not more than 21 carrying a baby. She was dressed nicely and for the cold, and had her baby bundled and clutched to her chest. She had a look of concern on her face as she walked beside a slight bearded man with his jeans purposely sagging off his ***. I watched them wander into the courthouse, and wondered if this situation was what that woman dreamed of. I wondered what kind of man and father the young man was, and why they were going to the courthouse. It did not seem to be a happy visit. I thought about the choices people make, and how so many people are trapped by the circles they are born into. My impression is that this woman wanted more for herself, but had chosen saggy pants as her mate. Just an impression…I do not know their situation, and perhaps it is something altogether different – but, this is where my mind took me.

I talked to a friend recently about finances and health care. There is grave concern about the “market” and inflation…we are merely players on a stage, and greater more powerful people control our world – and we are powerless to influence the situation as pandemics and wars and “markets” and “politics” swirl us about like a wind blowing a leaf. I have reached a point in my life where I have chosen to simply move on and past all of this – maybe just ignore it. The journey across America was a way for me to focus my life and actualize my freedom and free will in a very concrete way.

A car drove past me as I returned to my apartment with a “Choose Joy” sticker on the window. It seemed to be a sign…we are all just players on a stage, but we can choose joy. We can find freedom and exercise our free will by choosing joy instead of allowing ourselves to get trapped in a role we don’t want for ourselves.

Deep thoughts…
I wanted to publicly thank my friend and classmate Jamie Schleck for organizing a charity golf scramble to raise funds for The Independence Fund/Operation Resiliency. The Metuchen Army/Navy Golf Scramble raised $7500 for this cause, and these funds will be credited to my fund raiser.

My surreal transition into normal society continues. I enjoyed the “voice” I had on my walk, and I appreciate you reading my thoughts on this cold Wednesday morning in Pennsylvania.

Picture is from his seat at the coffee shop the Colonel frequents. Of note, Carlisle, PA is a pretty nice-looking Americana town- as is a lot of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania.
315890343_182438917699561_481390699589303682_n.jpg
Americana town.
 
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GON, Thanks for sharing. I respect and enjoy his POV from his "seat in the audience" of the world stage.

We all choose when to get up from our seat and leave the show so to speak, and find a new show or scenery that interests us. I think many people did this during and post the pandemic. Being shut in made them realize that life offers more than just working an 8 to 5 that they might not like, and that they are not happy with the place they have chosen to live.

This is going to cause many companies and corporations to have to change their cultures long term to attract talent that knows they have different choices. With Amazon, META, and other tech companies now laying off people, this will certainly accelerate this working culture change.

In some cases the elites would have us all think that we cannot change our seats or scenery and that we should remain static so that they in turn can continue to benefit from our malaise. From my POV that is changing. People are waking up and rising to another occasion or seat with views that are of a more "attractive stage" for them.
 
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Oh, wow. Thanks! I just posted a comment in the retirement thread that reflects some of the Colonel's thoughts.

He does contradict himself though. He states " we are powerless to influence the situation as pandemics and wars and “markets” and “politics” swirl us about like a wind blowing a leaf. I have reached a point in my life where I have chosen to simply move on and past all of this – maybe just ignore it."
Then he talks about choosing joy "we are all just players on a stage, but we can choose joy. We can find freedom and exercise our free will by choosing joy instead of allowing ourselves to get trapped in a role we don’t want for ourselves."

I doubt that people in Ukraine can choose joy. I believe that all people do NOT have the same opportunities regarding choice.
 
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That was an accurate perspective. However, I must add that the "hobbits" going about "orbits" is what we do to earn money, raise a family, save for retirement and live a comfortable life.

Once retired and with effort-free money flowing in, the view changes remarkably.

I remain employed, however, I have funds, home and toys enough to retire anytime. I may exit the game anytime. The good news is, I've backed off the stupid long hours and am just saying no. I can afford to do so.
 
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When you really step behind and look at life going by it does seem just like a game.

I left the working stuff at 52 w/ some weird medical issues but I am much happier than while working.
 
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GON

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GON, Thanks for sharing. I respect and enjoy his POV from his "seat in the audience" of the world stage.

We all choose when to get up from our seat and leave the show so to speak, and find a new show or scenery that interests us. I think many people did this during and post the pandemic. Being shut in made them realize that life offers more than just working an 8 to 5 that they might not like, and that they are not happy with the place they have chosen to live.

This is going to cause many companies and corporations to have to change their cultures long term to attract talent that knows they have different choices. With Amazon, META, and other tech companies now laying off people, this will certainly accelerate this working culture change.

In some cases the elites would have us all think that we cannot change our seats or scenery and that we should remain static so that they in turn can continue to benefit from our malaise. From my POV that is changing. People are waking up and rising to another occasion or seat with views that are of a more "attractive stage" for them.
WT,

Thanks for the reply and sharing your observations. It will definitely be different seeing how/ if the people of the USA change their priorities and outlooks based on events over the past 30 months. One example- many American's have been use to buying a new car anytime they wanted. That choice is not so easily obtainable today, and might never be again based on multiple factors. Maybe the vehicles on our roads will be reflective of roads in Cuba, Russia, Indonesia, etc- where cars are kept running forever. And if so- is that really so bad? I definitely don't have the answer.
 

GON

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Oh, wow. Thanks! I just posted a comment in the retirement thread that reflects some of the Colonel's thoughts.

He does contradict himself though. He states " we are powerless to influence the situation as pandemics and wars and “markets” and “politics” swirl us about like a wind blowing a leaf. I have reached a point in my life where I have chosen to simply move on and past all of this – maybe just ignore it."
Then he talks about choosing joy "we are all just players on a stage, but we can choose joy. We can find freedom and exercise our free will by choosing joy instead of allowing ourselves to get trapped in a role we don’t want for ourselves."

I doubt that people in Ukraine can choose joy. I believe that all people do NOT have the same opportunities regarding choice.
DIMYS,

Thanks for the reply. I think we all want water, food, and shelter. After that, for some people everything else is what it is.

Your post triggered some internal thoughts. I have a beautiful S-class in the garage, maybe the best mass-produced sedan in today's world (not to fret- it was a salvage vehicle I rebuilt). But it is sweet. The tobacco leather interior is about as inviting as it gets. The deep misty metallic blue paint almost looks black- very sweet ride that I drive about 20 miles per month. Yet, when talking about joy- am I happier with this S class, than I was with my first car, bought in 1980 in high school, a 1971 Mercury Capri 4 speed that I paid $125, that burned more oil the gas? I suspect I was more joyful with that $125 mercury than the 130k sticker price S-class sitting in my garage today. Considerably more joyful with that $125 Mercury that people gave me dirty looks at stop lights as the oil filled smoke poured out the exhaust.

For the retired Colonel, his mother died of pancreatic cancer about 24 months ago. She lived five years after the cancer was identified, from what I understand much longer than most people with pancreatic cancer. And I read she remained joy filled until she passed.
 
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... One example- many American's have been use to buying a new car anytime they wanted. That choice is not so easily obtainable today, and might never be again based on multiple factors. Maybe the vehicles on our roads will be reflective of roads in Cuba, Russia, Indonesia, etc- where cars are kept running forever. And if so- is that really so bad? I definitely don't have the answer.
People keeping their cars 2-3 times longer would be good in several ways. New cars are expensive and most people swap cars long before they become unreliable, so obviously, people would have, or save, money. Also better for the environment, given the raw materials saved, kept out of landfills, even recycling them takes a lot of energy. Essentially, it would mean less unnecessary or conspicuous consumption, which means those resources (money, materials) could be directed toward something that provides more value or is more useful.

However, in the short term it would mean a period of adjustment as demand for cars shrinks, car manufacturers have to slow down production, lay off employees, etc. In the long term it would create growth in other areas or industries depending on what people did with the money they saved.
 

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People keeping their cars 2-3 times longer would be good in several ways. New cars are expensive and most people swap cars long before they become unreliable, so obviously, people would have, or save, money. Also better for the environment, given the raw materials saved, kept out of landfills, even recycling them takes a lot of energy. Essentially, it would mean less unnecessary or conspicuous consumption, which means those resources (money, materials) could be directed toward something that provides more value or is more useful.

However, in the short term it would mean a period of adjustment as demand for cars shrinks, car manufacturers have to slow down production, lay off employees, etc. In the long term it would create growth in other areas or industries depending on what people did with the money they saved.
So of us don't want to keep cars that long..............I just flipped my 2018 Silverado for a 2020 F150. And you know what-the difference was not a lot of money because I was patient.
 
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WT,

Thanks for the reply and sharing your observations. It will definitely be different seeing how/ if the people of the USA change their priorities and outlooks based on events over the past 30 months. One example- many American's have been use to buying a new car anytime they wanted. That choice is not so easily obtainable today, and might never be again based on multiple factors. Maybe the vehicles on our roads will be reflective of roads in Cuba, Russia, Indonesia, etc- where cars are kept running forever. And if so- is that really so bad? I definitely don't have the answer.
GON,

You are sooo correct. The salvage market is booming partly because of people keeping their cars longer, and because OEMs cannot deliver replacement parts. Salvage inventory turns have never been higher for not only component parts, but also whole unit cores.
 
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And I believe that is the courthouse that has a cannonball sunk into one of the pillars that was fired by JEB Stuart;s men in the Civil War. There is also a bullet hole in the window sill of one of the windows at street level from that same event.
 
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A recently retired Colonel completed a walk across the USA to raise money for pancreatic cancer and various veteran's groups. This Colonel was an infantry officer, played football at West Point, and was engaged in combat operations multiple times in a leadership role. This Colonel grew up in Southern California, and retired out of Carlisle Barracks, in PA. The Colonel returned to his apartment in Carlisle after his walk. Below is a note he posted yesterday from Carlisle. Of note, this Colonel divorced about seven years- being married is a challenge, being married and in the military can sometimes add even more challenges.

From the retired Army Colonel:

We got our first snowfall in Pennsylvania last night. I must admit that it seemed so strange to me – a month ago I was walking through a desert in California approaching the final stretch of mountains that separated me and the Pacific Ocean. I walked to my favorite coffee shop about two blocks from my apartment, and took up my seat facing the center square of Carlisle with a cup of black coffee. This is a perfect vantage point from which to survey the front of the Cumberland County Courthouse, and the furtive traffic flowing through the center square of Carlisle. I call the people rushing about “Hobbits”. I do not mean it as a derisive term, but as a simple matter of fact. People move in their orbits, rarely deviating from their routine – in a hurry to get to wherever they are going.

I am intrigued by the menagerie of people moving in and out of the courthouse…lawyers dressed smartly and walking briskly with determination in contrast with the mostly slovenly people shuffling in mismatched clothes and smoking cigarettes. It’s a funny game we are stuck in – somehow life launches people into certain trajectories, and we rise or sink to these roles. There’s a quote from Shakespeare that we are just merely players on a stage living out our roles…
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances

Watching the people moving around the courthouse reinforced this notion…I watched a young couple walk past. A pretty woman not more than 21 carrying a baby. She was dressed nicely and for the cold, and had her baby bundled and clutched to her chest. She had a look of concern on her face as she walked beside a slight bearded man with his jeans purposely sagging off his ***. I watched them wander into the courthouse, and wondered if this situation was what that woman dreamed of. I wondered what kind of man and father the young man was, and why they were going to the courthouse. It did not seem to be a happy visit. I thought about the choices people make, and how so many people are trapped by the circles they are born into. My impression is that this woman wanted more for herself, but had chosen saggy pants as her mate. Just an impression…I do not know their situation, and perhaps it is something altogether different – but, this is where my mind took me.

I talked to a friend recently about finances and health care. There is grave concern about the “market” and inflation…we are merely players on a stage, and greater more powerful people control our world – and we are powerless to influence the situation as pandemics and wars and “markets” and “politics” swirl us about like a wind blowing a leaf. I have reached a point in my life where I have chosen to simply move on and past all of this – maybe just ignore it. The journey across America was a way for me to focus my life and actualize my freedom and free will in a very concrete way.

A car drove past me as I returned to my apartment with a “Choose Joy” sticker on the window. It seemed to be a sign…we are all just players on a stage, but we can choose joy. We can find freedom and exercise our free will by choosing joy instead of allowing ourselves to get trapped in a role we don’t want for ourselves.

Deep thoughts…
I wanted to publicly thank my friend and classmate Jamie Schleck for organizing a charity golf scramble to raise funds for The Independence Fund/Operation Resiliency. The Metuchen Army/Navy Golf Scramble raised $7500 for this cause, and these funds will be credited to my fund raiser.

My surreal transition into normal society continues. I enjoyed the “voice” I had on my walk, and I appreciate you reading my thoughts on this cold Wednesday morning in Pennsylvania.

Picture is from his seat at the coffee shop the Colonel frequents. Of note, Carlisle, PA is a pretty nice-looking Americana town- as is a lot of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania. Americana town.

gon, thanks for this. does the colonel have his own blog? i would like to read more…
 

GON

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Jstert,

Please try these links:

Kenny Walks Across America on Facebook

The system I am on won't let me see these links, I can resubmit this evening working links if these don't work.
 

GON

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I had thought about Pennsylvania as a 'retirement' state but after the recent election I decided against it...
Pennsylvania has a very large retired and very patriotic population. When I was transferred to PA I was blown away at how nice everyone was, not at all the erroneous perception I had from TV. I believe the taxes in PA are very favorable to retired folks also. For being a northeast state, I think the state has done a better job than most of its peer states on managing public employee retirement entitlements.

We lived on 10 acres, overlooked the mountains, heard the Amish horses every Sunday heading to church..... heck, the hardware store was Amish run and closed at 11 AM on Saturday morning, and reponed at 7am on Monday morning.

Although PA was not a match for us to retire- we had a very wonderful experience in rural PA and super glad we were able to live in rural PA for four years- the longest place we have every lived in the past three decades.
 

GON

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He sounds naive.
Maybe so, I know that Colonel and he is a very smart man, has been through a lot, including the combat deaths of Soldiers he led in combat zones. He was raised in a single-family home, somehow made it to West Point, and played football at West Point. Made it as an Infantry Officer to the rank of Colonel. Immediately after retirement, he spent seven months of his life on a mission to raise money through daily sacrifice for pancreatic cancer research, and veteran causes- walking 20 miles a day, seven days a week. That is a lot of time to think and reflect.

The Colonel is speaking from his life experiences; your life experiences may draw a different conclusion.

I am at the point in my life, like that Colonel, I want to find joy, and hopefully help others find joy and happiness.
 

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Pennsylvania has a very large retired and very patriotic population. When I was transferred to PA I was blown away at how nice everyone was, not at all the erroneous perception I had from TV. I believe the taxes in PA are very favorable to retired folks also. For being a northeast state, I think the state has done a better job than most of its peer states on managing public employee retirement entitlements.

We lived on 10 acres, overlooked the mountains, heard the Amish horses every Sunday heading to church..... heck, the hardware store was Amish run and closed at 11 AM on Saturday morning, and reponed at 7am on Monday morning.

Although PA was not a match for us to retire- we had a very wonderful experience in rural PA and super glad we were able to live in rural PA for four years- the longest place we have every lived in the past three decades.
All of what you say is true. We've visited Amish Country several times and always enjoyed it but it has become very commercialized (malls and such) in the past 20 years or so. The suburbs of Philadelphia seem like a nice place to live but Philly has become crime infested because the Soros backed DA won't prosecute criminals and I don't see things improving with their new Senator.
 
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