My great grandparents moved from Sweden to the United States to start a new life. After losing everything they owned in one of the great hurricanes in Florida, they moved to the Midwest. At the time, things in this country were tough, and their struggles left them unable to feed their kids. My grandfather was given away as a child to a family who owned a farm. He worked for his food as a child laborer and didn’t even own a toothbrush growing up. The farm he worked on is less than 20 minutes from my office. Later, my grandfather enlisted in the military and became a great war hero fighting in World War II.
I can be an entrepreneur today and live the American Dream because of the great sacrifices that my family made before me.
The American Dream
I’m in awe when I think about how just a few generations later, I am building a great company. I think my great grandparents and grandparents would be so proud. I don’t take their sacrifice lightly; I feel a sense of duty to continue to change the legacy of our family. I have a great opportunity before me to do just that, and my job is to pass my great grandparents and grandparents’ story down to my kids so we never forget how we have this opportunity to be Americans.
Retracing my grandfather’s steps
I recently had a business trip in Germany, and I had the chance of a lifetime to take my daughter along to retrace some of the steps of my grandfather. He was in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, and the things he saw and had to document during the war scarred him for the rest of his life. We had no idea until after he was gone what he had endured to fight for our country.
Our trip to Germany was a great opportunity for my daughter and me. We started out in Munich at the EFB Users Forum where she got to listen to me speak during the conference and meet a lot of our clients. Our clients all know about her, but she was shocked when they talked to her like they knew her. (That’s a proud mom bragging about her kids!)
Prior to our trip, my daughter had worked with my uncle to plan the four days following the conference to retrace my grandfather’s steps. He died as a Lt. Colonel in the 87th Infantry division in World War II. Over four days, we drove to three different countries and retraced my grandfather’s steps from the Buchenwald concentration camp to Bastogne—“The Battle of the Bulge.” It was a life-changing experience for my daughter and me to see and learn about the tragedies that unfolded there during the war. We will never take for granted the sacrifices my grandfather and others made to serve our country!
Are you teaching your kids about your legacy and how blessed they are to be free?