This past weekend, we all celebrated the courage of countless soldiers from the past to modern day. This was a special day for my family for we lost my oldest son Specialist Dustin Ray Tepera, who served in Iraq.

I’m sure about every person knows or has relatives who served or are serving in this great nation.

There are many days I walk into the gym thinking how fortunate I am to be free to choose things I love to do. The freedom of choice to be productive or not, occupation, religion and political views.

Think about it, your current status is from all the choices you’ve created. But, how is this so because no one made those decisions for you?

We must take this time to celebrate those who’ve lost their lives and are currently laying their lives on the line for all of us.

Whenever I see someone acting like an idiot, I comfort myself knowing that soldiers like Dustin allowed you to be that way. You just become spoiled to the best nation in the world and don’t recognize the opportunities before you.

Years ago, when I realized that my destiny was totally up to me, I started the journey to not only be a role model for my kids but to change all those around me. I recognize that my time on earth will one day come to an end. How will I be remembered?

My dad created a strong sense of pride in the Tepera name through my sister Karen and I. It was up to us to continue our legacy of strong work ethic and respect for all.

If you’re struggling with your own identity, make today your journey to become a better person and reach out to help others. You get to create your own memorial. How will people remember you? Hopefully, as someone that changed lives and could be counted on in all aspects of life.

So, remember, next time you see a soldier or veteran, shake hands and thank them for keeping you free. I promise, that will be a memory both of you will never forget.

Until next week, keep moving and improving.

David Tepera: davidtepera@yahoo.com.

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