Saturday, December 12, 2015


Much is said, and much is written about the  nature of mankind. According to most sources, Man is selfish, cold, and calculating. I would say, by and large, the consensus is that people are "in it for themselves" with no regards to others...unless of course it makes them look good to "help" those in need.  

If one were to watch the news for more than 15 minutes I have no doubt they would view a story of a greedy banker, a philandering politician, or maybe a billionaire running for president with the tasteless mantra of "I'M RICH!". 
Serving a mission however has shown me another side of mankind. A side that I think could do us as a people a lot of good. That side is one of charity. 
There is a story that my Father used to tell me and I think it embodies the character that we all wish we had. It is about the Man in The Water.
In September of 1932 a young boy was brought into this world. His name would be Arland Dean Williams Jr. Growing up in small town Illinois, and attending The Citadel in Charleston, SC -  not many people would know him, much less consider him a hero. All of that would change on January 13th 1982. 
That fateful afternoon he and 73 other passengers boarded Florida air Flight 90, getting on at Washington National Airport in DC -  on their way to Fort Lauderdale, FL. They would not reach their destination that day. 
30 seconds after the initial takeoff they stalled - and at 4:01 PM they plunged into the frigid Potomac river. Instantly, 78 passengers, bystanders and crew members perished. When the dust settled there were only 6 survivors. One of those survivors was Arland. 
The rescue effort was scrambled at first, as with any crisis situation information was not 100% accurate and because of the blizzard conditions that day many 1st responders were hindered in their efforts at first. Finally at around 4:20 PM the Eagle 1 - a United States Park Police Helicopter arrived on the scene and began to aid in the rescue of these surviving men and women. 
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The helicopter rescue team dropped down a rope and began their valiant effort to save these drowning victims. When the rope was lowered to a man who was clinging onto the wreckage of the plane. He clamored onto the rope and they were able to pull him ashore. The rope then dropped in front of Arland. Defying so called "human nature" Arland set aside his own desire to live and passed the rope to the woman next to him, giving her a chance to live again. When the helicopter returned they dropped two lines allowing Arland and another survivor to be pulled ashore. But that was not to be. Arland, with no regard to his own well being, then passed BOTH of the lines to other survivors, allowing them to live, allowing them a second chance at life. When Eagle 1 returned, Arland was no where to be found. He was gone. Drowned, or overwhelmed by hypothermia at the bottom of the Potomac river. 
Although Arland's acts in a literal sense only saved 3 people, he saved our world from the self deprecating ideal of "every man for himself". What Arland showed us that day was the very root of the American spirit. He showed us the Christlike love that we all wish to embody. 
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Our country was not founded by a helter skelter mob of angry unreasonable yeomans fighting against taxes. Our constitution was  not composed by men who were driven by selfish desire. Our country did not get this far by letting every man, woman, and child fend for themselves. We will not sustain our great lifestyle if we also look to the rusted motifs of natural selection or social darwinism. 

No, along with our sacred and important individualism there is another element to our wonderful way of life. This wonderful country was sewn into fruition by men who had vastly different ideological preferences and political worldviews. However they were able to put their self interest aside and work together for the common goodInline image 6.Inline image 5 Inline image 4We won World War II not simply by military strategy and the atomic bomb, but we won the war by a strong effort not only abroad but right here at home. Women went to work in the factories, and everyone gave up a little here and a little there - chipping in whatever they could to defend this wonderful beacon of freedom we call the United States. 
Inline image 7Inline image 8When the world watched Dr. Martin Luther King in August of 1963 expound on the injustice & inequity experienced by African Americans in our society, Men and Women both Black and White were moved by his hortative words to change it. They wanted to cure the cancer of racial inequality because they knew that it was anything BUT what America stands for. Although many see the civil rights movement as a divisive time in our country, the contrary can be said as well. It was a time when the citizens of our great nation stood in solidarity for one another, they stood for the dream when one day their children wouldn't be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Isn't that what the American dream is all about? That no matter who you are or where you have been, you can go somewhere farther!
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On September 11th 2001, no one cared who you voted for in the election. It didn't matter what your view on abortion was. When the police officers and EMT's rushed into the burning north tower they didn't stop and wonder if the men inside favored gun control. As bystanders carried battered bodies from the rubble, focus group issues weren't even an after thought. When the towers went down our strength as a people went up. The American spirit spoke to everyone's soul that day with a potent & nostalgic voice saying "United we stand, divided we fall".
These moments were all defining switch points in our nations history but let me make one thing clear- we need to keep up the fight. There are those who desire to divide us and marginalize us by putting us up into liberal, conservative, black, white, southern, northern, young, old. They are the ones who tell us each and every day that based on where you come from, what you look like and what news station you watch before you go to work - you have different values and want different things for your kids. This will truly be to the detriment of the United States - if we see our fellow American citizens as "us against them". 
We have come far as a country but we have a long way to go. We aren't perfect. We have made mistakes - we will learn from those and make new ones. That's just the way it is. But that is not to say we shouldn't band together for righting wrongs. In a land of great affluence we still have young boys and girls who go to bed hungry each night. When our veterans come home from a war in a far off land- some can't even rely on getting the quality healthcare they need. On college campuses and other public spheres, exorbitantly rich tyrants stifle public expression and free speech. Again, may I say we have a long way to go. But I am not a pessimist nor am I someone who is counting down our doomsday clock. I am a biased and unwavering American Exceptionalist. In lay terms - I believe in us as the American people. I believe that every single time in our history where we have faced a trial, we have stood together as one. We unified ourselves and overcame our shortcomings. 

May this paragon forever be the quintessence of American virtue, today and tomorrow. Because when you think about it, the brave selfless souls who came before us passed the rope to us. They gave us a shot. It is my whole hearted prayer that God our Heavenly Father, truly will continue to bless America
Elder Clancy

Elder Johns and I on our tandem bike

Surprise on the back of our car one day!

All the missionaries in our area took a winter driving class at Master Drive.It was actually a lot of fun! We got to like spin out and stuff.
I did pretty good. I learned a lot of things I had no idea about. 
Here we are with our "Masters Degrees" ha ha.

Sunrise from our home

Walking the dogs

BYU Tree at some local members' home.
They have some awesome trees.
Here is another of the beautiful trees(They have like 9 trees
in their house all with different themes)
With our Christmas tree at the Wilkes

Arthur helping us do some work

At a recent wedding

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