A Clarion Call for Strength & Readiness
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
September 22, 2005

"Clarion": according to The American Heritage Dictionary, "a medieval trumpet with a clear, shrill tone".

As a very proud son of a World War II Private First Class, I grew up in the flight pattern of Brooks Air Field, playing on my swing set in my backyard. The old warplanes flew overhead just a couple of hundred feet above me. The memory of the planes' scary loud roar was an experience I can never forget. Along with this memory was the belief at that time that America was on top of the world because it was. I still believe it is!

A few years later in the latter 1950's though, the Russians put up Sputnik I. Then before we could get over the surprise that a country other than America had put up this missile, we learned that Sputnik II had been launched. Shortly after that time the Germans knocked on our American door to see if we would allow the sale of Volkswagens. We laughed, let them in and proceeded to watch them sell the little cars like hotcakes!

Around that same time, Japan sold trinkets of little value that were "Made in Japan", a phrase that was synonymous with "junk". Today Japanese automaker Toyota is the third largest auto manufacturer in the world as reported in the September 19, 2005 Economist. We counted it as a huge victory that San Antonio landed the Toyota Plant because it is a big deal!

All of the above goes to show us though that we can never ever rest on our laurels! The vanquished in one instance can be the victors in the next and vice versa. In defeat are sown the seeds of victory! America has seen a lot of victory with little defeat.

Whether it is Katrina, 9-11 or some other disaster on that level, there is always something that we citizens can do to build the strength of our country. For starters, to the extent that you can, stay physically healthy, work hard and save money. Nationally, finance our own country's debt instead of allowing China, Japan and even South Korea to be our numbers one, two and three creditor nations, respectively!

The list goes on, but it starts with you and me. And though we would not seem to have that big of an impact on the nation or the world, we have to start somewhere and build from there. Think nationally and globally, act locally!

Since I have been in office, I have been devoted to the cause of tapping into that first, great renewable or sustainable source of energy known to man: solar energy. At the County, we have already begun saving $200,000.00 annually on our energy bills from the implementation of conservation techniques, energy management and the use of solar energy. We are dedicated at the County to running this savings up to $1.5 million annually, for as far as the eye can see in time.

With cheap, renewable energy, we can compete with other countries in the world economy in which we live. Our people can access energy with unlimited supply that is also clean. With clean energy, we can be healthier.

Recently I saw the movie entitled, "Pearl Harbor". With the devastating bombing of Pearl Harbor, America was energized into action to help the Allied Nations win World War II. Jimmy Doolittle, who held at least one "Doolittle Raiders" reunion here in San Antonio, taught these young men in their twenties how to fly bombers off an aircraft carrier called the Hornet. Their goal was to strike back at Japan for Pearl Harbor. Their mission was a success by any measure! But this lesson of history must endure.

I have always heard that war is the result of failed diplomacy. May we always exercise diplomacy. After our best efforts however or should we be attacked, we must be prepared to sustain the fight for our freedom and American values. The hard work of each of us daily lays the foundation for a strong county, city, state and nation.

Along with my fondest childhood memories was the belief at that time that America was on top of the world because it was. I still believe it is! I hope that we can all work hard to ensure that it always will be!

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