For Whom the Bell Tolls

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For Whom the Bell Tolls

"For whom the bell tolls"

25 years ago today (November 1st, 1996), I opened my little Martial Arts/ childcare business for the first time.  United Tae Kwon-Do-Jones Rd. was born (actually just re-imagined as I was the 3rd proprietor of that particular location).  I was a headstrong 19 year old who knew it all and nothing at all at the same time.  Now that was a long time ago.  Currently I'm reading Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls which reminds me constantly of John Donne's great poem by the same name.  

"No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee."

The essential idea provoked from the poem is that the ringing of the bell, indicating a death, cannot mean anything except your impending death due to your connection with your fellow man. What a morbid and frightening notion!  But I can't help but look back at the last quarter century without just thinking about the connections I've made and the people who made such a long stint in business possible.  Everyone from mentors and fellow instructors, to family members and business partners, to customers, kids, and dearly loved-employees, they've all touched my life and enriched me in profound ways.  Along the way I've met some of the finest people who have molded my thinking and helped me to see the world in a much larger way than I ever imagined.  Frankly, my list of thank yous would be much too long.  Sufficed to say, that I've been greatly blessed beyond what I deserve.  As I edge toward the next phase of life and business, I pause to hear the sound of the bell as it rings.  Though I'm no younger (and I think: no fool), the sound of the bell ringing was never sweeter.  By the grace of God and with a little help from my friends, I celebrate 25 years of absolute pleasure in serving my students and families.  May God bless all of you richly as you have done so for me.


Joshua Hong

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