Richard A. Mendenhall is a fifth-generation real estate pro from Columbia, Mo. and was 2001 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
The Spirit of the Future
November 1, 2001
A century and a half ago, about the time the first real estate board in Baltimore was formed in 1858, Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying, “The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people.”
On Sept. 11, 2001, our freedom and strength were challenged when our nation was attacked. The question now on everybody’s mind is, what will the future bring? I so strongly believe in the strength of our nation and the strength of REALTORS® everywhere that I want to yell it out—The answer to the future is found in the human spirit, and it is about a place called HOME.
The day of the attack, I got a call from my father—82 years old, the fourth generation of REALTOR® in our family, and part of the invasion on D-Day. He said, “We should be ready to serve again to protect our homes.” The next day my daughter and my son, our sixth generation of REALTOR®, raised the American flag at their homes. On the third day a young wife appeared on national television frantically looking for her husband in New York City and said, “I just need to know he is at peace, or I want to bring him home.”
REALTORS® can be proud: Within hours after the attack, we were one of the first organizations in America to organize a relief fund so that no victim’s family would lose the place they call home. (REALTORS® Housing Relief Fund.)
Home is a word REALTORS® intimately understand. Home is a place on this earth, a place in our country, a place in our community, a place at our work, and a place with our friends and family. Home is for everybody in America, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. Home honors the American soldiers, policemen, firefighters, and other men and women of this nation who valiantly fight battles across the world for our freedom and the protection of our homes.
It has been my highest honor and privilege to serve as your 2001 NAR president. Now I’m headed home. I have no fear of the future, as I have served with three generations of REALTORS® in this country and abroad and I’ve seen the spirit and the flame of that special place called HOME in their human souls. It is the spirit of the future.
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Updated: August 11, 2020