In 1998, I was president of the American Leadership Foundation and was attending a very important breakfast at the United States Capitol with my Dad. At that time he was in the midst of a 30-year career as Chief of Staff to a very prominent U.S. Senator.
There was a very distinguished gentleman sitting in between us. His name was George. We spoke for quite some time. At one point during the conversation my Dad leaned over and said, “George, tell Bo about your family.”
George got a smile on his face and said my great great great great great grandfather was brought over on a slave ship from the Gambia. His name was Kunta Kinte. Some of you may remember the 1976 best-selling book and subsequent blockbuster mini-series titled, ROOTS. It was written by Alex Haley and became the reason he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Alex was the brother of the man I was sitting next to that morning; George Haley.
We talked about his family for a while. He discussed the legacy that was left behind by this man who was enslaved and refused to forfeit his sovereignty to another man. He shared how his family history made an impact on him personally.
My Dad, then leaned over and said, “George, please tell Bo about your new job.”
At that moment, George looked at me and said, “I am going back to the Gambia as the United States Ambassador. I could not help but think to myself how one man’s convictions created a ripple effect on a generation he never knew. Additionally, I remember thinking how this nation, with all its imperfections and scars is still the greatest nation on earth offering unlimited opportunity to anyone willing to pursue it.
Herein lies one of the great blessings of America. There is no hardship we cannot overcome. There is nothing to hold us back. By the grace of God, we are capable of living a significant life.
What we do today will have a lasting impact on generations to come. We must all choose our actions wisely.
This is the America I love. This is the America I believe in. God bless you all.
Always Lead, Bo Short