Today, I’m sharing two examples of powerful legacies that I hope will inspire you.
Powerful Legacies – The Gift of Giving
The first comes from an early experience in my law career. I filled in for another attorney and met with his client to sign some papers. The client’s story captured my attention and has stuck with me for years. Her parents created a charitable trust during their lifetime. One of the provisions of the trust required their three daughters to meet annually to distribute each year’s allotted contributions to charities meeting the criteria of the trust. It may not necessarily seem like a legacy story but the experience of the girls over the years since their parents’ deaths proves it out.
The woman I met with was in her late sixties or early seventies. The trust had been in operation for a number of years at that time. She told how the provisions of the trust had played a unique role in keeping her and her siblings in a close relationship over the years. Their annual, in-person meetings had given them the opportunity to travel together as sisters. They also were afforded the opportunity to bring worthy causes before each other and decide how to distribute the funds.
The legacy was three-fold. First, we all know how scattered families are these days and how hard it is to get everyone together. The trust provided the reason and the resources to make it happen. As a result, the sisters remained close. Second, they bonded around philanthropic goals. They experienced the blessings of giving regularly and learned to enjoy the process immensely. Finally, there was a legacy created for the charities they contributed to on behalf of the family charitable trust expanding their legacy beyond the family for years to come. Beautiful!
Powerful Legacies – The Gift of Service and Heritage
The next legacy story is a recent experience. I attended a business meeting held at the National Museum of Military Vehicles. After our meeting, we had a tour led by the man who created the museum using his personal resources, Dan Starks. The museum is world-class and I highly recommend going if you are anywhere near Dubois, Wyoming! Plan on at least two days to truly glean everything to be found here. We had the three-hour tour and it barely scratched the surface of what was there to be seen and learned.
What’s the legacy story? The honor and tribute paid to American military ingenuity, strength, and persistence in fighting for freedom are at the top of the list. This stunning collection gives a clear picture of American fighting strength over its history. As well as, the cost of war in human terms.
Another incredible part of the story, however, is the fact that this one man took it upon himself to gather the vehicles and other artifacts. To catalog their development and history, and then open the doors to the public for a learning experience like no other. Veterans, families of veterans, patriots, school children, history buffs – all will be enriched by the knowledge and experience to be found in this place. The legacy of his life, in part, will be the many lessons learned by folks visiting the place he so carefully created. Perhaps some will find wisdom about the ravages of war and how we can avoid it. Others may learn when it is necessary to fight against even greater evils. There is much food for thought to be found as you study the machinery of war.
What will your legacy be?
Both of these examples of legacy come about as a result of great wealth and not all of us have or will leave behind large sums of money. However, the lessons translate to all of us in both cases. People are at the core of any great legacy. What we teach and learn from one another. How we share with others. How we share wisdom from one generation to the next. These are the elements of legacy.