Kevin Patrick Law - July 2020


A Review of ‘Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations’ What’s Kevin Reading?

Most Americans associate July with Independence Day and everything the holiday entails, including traditional barbecue cuisine, fireworks, and summer vacations. However, in addition to the Fourth of July, this midsummer month has a rich history and offers fun opportunities for everyone to celebrate.

Every year on the Fourth of July, I try to reflect not only on fireworks and enjoying tasty barbecue but also on the spirit and history of Independence Day. This year, I’m doing that by diving into books by our country’s veterans. One I read recently and really enjoyed was “Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations” by Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired Navy SEAL and past commander of United States Special Operations Command.

‘WHAT’S IN A NAME?’ You’ve likely heard of Julius Caesar, the famous Roman dictator and general known for changing the Roman Empire’s political structure, innovating war tactics, and eventually dying after a legendary assassination. But did you know that July, Caesar’s birth month, wasn’t always called that? It was initially named Quintilis , which means “fifth” in Latin, because it was the fifth month of the ancient Roman calendar. Shortly after Caesar’s death, the month of Quintilis was renamed July in his honor. Of course, Caesar’s legacy didn’t end there. Before he died, he implemented the Julian calendar, which he based off of the Egyptian solar calendar, and it remained in place for over 1,500 years until the Gregorian calendar was introduced in the 16th century. RED, WHITE, AND WHO? Similar to the Declaration of Independence for the U.S., Canada’s Constitution Act of 1867, signed on July 1 of that year, marks the birth of Canada. The following year, Charles Monck, the 4th Viscount Monck and Canada’s first governor- general, signed a proclamation requesting that everyone in Canada celebrate their country’s independence on July 1. However, it wasn’t until 100 years later that the date officially became Canada Day. Most celebrations include fireworks and red and white attire, much like how Americans celebrate the Fourth of July. GOT WINGS? While chicken wings are a staple of Southern dining, they actually originated in upstate New York. In 1964, Teressa Bellissimo, co-owner of the Anchor Bar, started cooking leftover wings dipped in hot sauce for her son and his friends. After receiving enthusiastic feedback, Bellissimo put them on the menu. Over the next few years, the recipe’s popularity spread, and in 1977, former Buffalo mayor Stan Makowski declared July 29 to be National Chicken Wing Day. The reputation of the famous Buffalo wings continued to spread nationwide, and in the early ‘90s, wings became an international hit when McDonald’s, KFC, and Domino’s Pizza began selling them in the variety of flavors we know and love today.

McRaven is most famous for overseeing the raid that killed Osama

bin Laden, but he had a long and fascinating career before that. He was involved in the capture of Saddam Hussein and helped rescue merchant mariner Richard Phillips from Somali pirates. “Sea Stories” follows him through his entire adventurous life, from childhood to the military. Throughout, I was floored by his courage and leadership and the sacrifices he’s made for our country. I was also impressed by his life philosophies. In addition to reading the book, I watched a video of a commencement address McRaven gave at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. In his speech, he told the class about some of the lessons he’d learned in SEAL training. One of them was this: “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will turn into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made! And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better. So, if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” I love that message and McRaven’s down-to-earth perspective. It’s inspiring to me to think every accomplishment, from winning a case to climbing a mountain, can be traced back to the little things you do along the way. I might just have to pick up McRaven’s other bestselling book, “Make Your Bed,” for my next read!

You can always reach Kevin directly at 404.566.8964 or (If you ever need it, his cell phone is 404.409.3160.)

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