Never Surrender: The Fight For a Future


It was a Hot and Dusty afternoon in Summer of 2003 when my Step-Grandfather, a Veteran of the WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Wars was laid to rest in Oilton, OK. I can remember the scene of the funeral being a very unique and special ceremony. He had served as a Lt. Colonel in all 3 wars, and even witnessed Pearl Harbor happen right in front of his own eyes. At this funeral he was to be celebrated with many military honors. Honors that could never repay the debt of gratitude that we as country owe him and so many others around the world. I’ll never forget the silence that fell on the congregation during the 21 Gun Salute. I’ll never forget the tears that came from his wife’s eyes as the group of military men folded the American Flag that laid on his casket and presented it to her. I’ll never forget the bugler that came and played the traditional Taps as we said our final goodbyes. But one of things that stood out to me the most is when one of the relatives during the eulogy said that, “Our Beloved Oscar Hazlip, through everything, He Never Quit, Never Gave Up, Never Backed Down, and Never Surrendered.” It was those prolific words that caught my attention, because that basically summed up his life. He along with countless others chose to serve time and time again, Never Surrendering the Call to Serve, but Rising to the Occasion in order for us to Continue to be Free. They Fought for the Future of Freedom and that directly Impacts You and me. But what are we as a nation fighting for today?


This memory resurfaced to my mind today as I heard the the news that the 9th Circuit Court chose not to hear the case involving a school issue where students were told to turn their shirts inside out if they had an American Flag on them. The reasoning behind the school’s decision was that they thought the American Flag would be offensive to students, particularly since that day was Cinco De Mayo. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great thing to celebrate the different cultural histories that Americans have and it is a special attribute of our national identity. And although, the school claims to have a justifiable cause, that does not give us an excuse to hide our Grand Ole Flag. We can’t afford to Surrender our Flag, because it may deem to be offensive to some. The reason people begin to become more offended to our values, principles, heritage, and fundamentals, is because too many we times we Surrender our Standards to satisfy a few. What are We Fighting for? What do We Stand For?

Every decision we make has a direct impact on the generation ahead of us. If we don’t Stand for Anything, we’ll Fall to Everything. If there’s No Standard, then Be the Standard. We are Americans and the Spirit of this great country can never be tamed. Freedom has come at too high a price and deserves to be preserved and honored rather than suppressed by hiding it. We must never be ashamed of our American Flag, too many lives have died for the cause and so that you and I can Wave that Flag of Freedom proudly! I’m Proud to be an American because we have the Freedom to hold our Flag Up High and honor those who have made our rights possible. A nation that forgets what it stands for can become too easily persuaded to do wrong. We must choose what is right for the sake of our future. I believe just like my Step-Grandpa Hazlip and so many other Veterans across the globe, we should Never Quit, Never Give Up, Never Back Down and most importantly, Never Surrender. Why? Because we are Americans and I am so thankful that we still have things worth fighting for. God Bless You and God Bless America! 🙂

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose is the path of Surrender, or Submission.”-President John F. Kennedy

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Brandon Baumgarten

Brandon Baumgarten grew up in the small town of Oilton, Oklahoma and was elected to serve the Oklahoma FFA Association as State Secretary, State President, and as a National Officer Candidate representing nearly 25,000 students on the local, state, and national levels from 2011-2013. Afterwards, Brandon launched his speaking career and authored the highly sought after leadership book, Caught Up & Called Out, hoping to help others see the impact they can make on this world. He is a professional speaker, speaking at over 100 different events each year, and a graduate from Oklahoma State University in Agricultural Leadership, and was even named a top 10 student. He is a Zig Ziglar Legacy & Youth Certified Presenter and his message is always to engage, encourage, and empower you to do something big in your life! No matter if you are a student, teacher, parent, or business executive, Brandon's presentations are certain to make you laugh, think, and realize your impact is about to begin!

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