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Fourth of July

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If you were born in the U.S.A. (apologies to Bruce Springsteen), you have memories of July 4th.  My favorite memories are mainly from my youth when we would celebrate the nation’s birthday and my grandfather’s birthday (July 4, 1888) with our family reunion.  Aunts, uncles, cousins; it was a well-attended event and we would have a softball game or two if the weather cooperated.  Many of my relatives were farmers and July 4th was a date that generally didn’t conflict with planting or harvesting a crop.   A senior family member or the local pastor would say a prayer before the buffet-style lunch was available.  I can’t remember an opening prayer where it wasn’t stated that we were thankful.

My opinion is that July 4th holiday activities have not changed that much for Americans.  There are picnics, parades, fireworks demonstrations, and more.  My family reunion is now held the weekend before July 4th so that our larger family can avoid traveling on one of the heaviest travel weeks of the summer.  We usually celebrate the fourth with friends, and it’s almost always at a picnic with fireworks later in the evening.

How thankful are we today for the many freedoms that we take for granted.  On a daily basis, we receive broadcasts of wars, natural disasters, politics, scandals, layoffs, etc.  My grandfather and his siblings lived through many wars (Spanish-American, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War), a great depression, and many great technological innovations (automobile, electricity, airplanes, man on the moon, atomic energy and weaponry).  Despite the ups and downs, they were always grateful for what they had achieved and received.  I suggest that we consider the freedoms that our ancestors and subsequent generations of Americans have fought for, and whenever possible, especially on July 4th, thank those Americans who protect our freedoms today.

Happy Fourth of July!

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

Comment(1)

  1. Wally:

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. The July 4ths in my past were identical. I can still feel the love (and the heat!) and taste the food from the potluck that day. Even though I am no longer able to go “home” for the holiday, I remember the familial connections and the feelings of safety and protection from the group gathered together.

    Yes, there were things going on around the world but I (and most of my relatives) felt insulated from these at our gathering in Olson, Michigan. If pressed, we could speak about wars and other issues (yes, we even discussed politics!), but we were well protected from those issues in our rural corner of the world.

    I look on that time with fondness, but realizing now everything which had been done to protect my freedom (and ability to enjoy that day.) Even though I didn’t say it at the time (and probably don’t say it enough now) I thank God for the people who continue to live and die for me so I can embrace whatever comes my way. Maybe I’ll get back home for another July 4 potluck….

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