Who Are Your Influencers?

We've all seen it. The supermodel wannabe cultural icon. The guy who does things because “everyone is doing it.” Who is “everyone?”

We have all seen and heard the stories of gals letting plastic surgeons disfigure their bodies because they want “the Brazillian But Lift or the super big breasts” thinking that these things will make them more attractive in a society based on looks. But they are wrong.

Amazon’s influencers are for generating sales. Models play a role in advertising. They show how clothes and home decor make the person but are they your influencers?

Take a look at yourself. Ask yourself who are your influencers? Influencers should be your teachers, your parents, people that are real role models.

Dig through the history books and you will find plenty of influencers including men and women! You will find men who stood up to the plate when called upon to say “no” to tyranny and “yes” to justice and freedom.

Great women!

Consider Susan B. Anthony or even Sojourner Truth. These are women who spoke out for human rights and dignity. Or how about Eleanor Roosevelt who used her position as being the wife of the most powerful man in the free world to put women to work in building the planes, tanks, and ships that were needed to win World War II. She also spoke for the rights of blacks whenever she could. She whole-heartedly supported the training of blacks as fighter pilots during World War II. Even some bomber crews were black.

If you have to pick an actor as a role model for women, I think I would pick Julia Roberts. Julia Roberts was long said to frown on being filmed in the nude. She believed that clothes added to the character she was portraying and that getting naked would make the story more about her body than the woman she was playing. Women like Julia are women of character in their own right and as actors, they bring about that character in the people they portray.

As most people know, Julia Roberts is a devoted mom and wife. Those roles are probably the most important in her life.


Several American Presidents including FDR, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan to name a few could easily be role models. Barack Obama just by being who he is is proof that you can go to great places regardless of the color of your skin! Great generals like Eisenhower and Bradley came from humble rural origins. They saw opportunities when encouraged to apply to be selected for West Point and the free world is better for that. 1915 was the year the stars fell on West Point!

Barack Obama came from a broken family like Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. Barack Obama’s father was rarely home. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan’s fathers had issues with alcohol which contributed to the breakdown of their marriages. The proof is that they rose above their past situations. Ronald Reagan earned an education, became an actor, and learned to articulate the things he believed were right, and our country is better for it. Harry Truman came into the office without a college education but had a terrific understanding of history and his role in it. He was the only President to ever order the use of nuclear weapons to bring about the Japanese surrender. That decision was not an easy one for President Truman to make.


You have influencers in your own life too. Your parents and teachers who helped you to learn and grow are your primary influencers. Listen to them. Your pastors too are great influencers. Listen to your parents also when they talk about their history. If they served in the military, their experience would make your study of history for real. This includes grandparents too!

My dad served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. He was a gunner on board B-17s and 24s. I can’t imagine what our world would be like if men like him did not come together and join in the fight against tyranny. Those bombing missions over Europe and Japan were just as bloody as the battlefields on the ground. We needed to bring Germany and Japan to their knees in order to secure a free and better world.

Winning World War II required something that today’s generations might not understand. Sacrifice was the word of the day. The message we needed to send to Japan was that they attacked the wrong country. We had the willpower and could wrestle all of our economic resources to beat them back.

Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States though he realized that we would be putting all of our economic resources on a war footing. The one thing he and his Nazi officials did not realize was that both the United States and the UK could out produce Germany simply because, in a free economy, government would not meddle with the design of the weapons of war. Together with Great Britain, we would out-produce Hitler’s Third Reich. We would unleash our manufacturing, and Hitler’s Nazi regime could do little about it. Luftwaffe bombers could not reach American soil.

We also had the people. Many fine young men put aside their personal desires to put on a uniform. My dad was one of those men.

You don’t have to be President of the United States or Prime Minister of Great Britain to be a leader. In World War II, there were many great leaders. They weren’t all the famous generals and admirals. Although men like Omar Bradley and William “Bull” Halsey came from humble belongings, many others also rose to the occasion.

Doris Miller, a black sailor, on the USS West Virginia, a cook, helped supply ammo to two of the ship’s .50 caliber anti-aircraft batteries and then grabbed one of the guns himself to shoot down attacking Japanese Zeros during the battle of Pearl Harbor. He was the first black sailor to receive the Navy Cross for his actions and will have a Ford-class aircraft carrier named for him.

Carwood Lipton, a sergeant in the 101rst Airborn Division’s Easy Company proved to be a real leader. Lipton was steadily promoted as he was able to keep the unit together and focused. Already at Toccoa, Georgia, Lipton was a leader. On June 6, 1944, he was a jumpmaster on a C-47. He was First Sergeant during Operation Market Garden and his leadership skills earned him a field commission.


Businesses, no matter how successful or how big, don’t just happen overnight. Henry Ford built his first automobile by hand. It was called the quadricycle. The thing rode on basically four bicycle wheels. Ford was basically a high school dropout but he had a knack for engineering. Some might find that as a failure from the start. Not so with Henry Ford. Ford was focused and his business grew! Ford did have guidance and encouragement from men like Thomas Edison.

My question is” Who are your influencers?




Alumnus from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, Photographer and writer.

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Andrew John Plath

Alumnus from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, Photographer and writer.