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I open this message today with one word, HOPE. Over the last couple of days, I have looked around my home office at the certificates and awards hung on my wall from various state governors, with plaques from military generals, and with flags flown over South Carolina, Texas, the State Capitol, and Iraq. All were given to me as I retired from a 25+ year career with the federal government. I found myself staring at the American flag in my office, given to me because I served in Iraq supporting our troops there.