Jeff Clark's Market Minute

I Can’t Own This Stock Anymore

My father served 12 years in the U.S. Air Force. He claimed he never saw the front lines of a war. He always told me he served during a rare period of “peace” between the Korean and Vietnam wars.

But Dad would never talk about his service. As a kid working on a school project, I’d ask, “What happened? How did you feel? What would you have changed?”

My father would respond almost apologetically, “I got lucky. I didn’t go to war. I really didn’t sacrifice anything.”

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Dad would never talk about his service.

But my grandparents – my father’s mom and dad – kept every letter their son sent to them during his time in the Air Force. Dad wrote his parents almost daily. All the letters were deposited into a locked trunk. And, after my grandparents died, that trunk found its way into the attic of my childhood home.

I discovered the trunk during a game of “hide and seek” with my brothers. And, for the next three weeks, I would come home from school, climb into the attic, and spend hours each day reading through my father’s letters.

That’s when I understood the expense of war. That’s when I understood my father’s reluctance to talk about it. That’s when I finally got the meaning of the word “sacrifice.” He unveiled things in those letters he could never tell me as a child.

My father died several years ago. During the funeral, the Air Force Color Guard presented my mother with a folded American flag. The presentation wasn’t made because Dad was a war hero. It wasn’t made because he faced fire on foreign soil.

The presentation of the flag was to simply say, “Thank you.”

Thank you for sacrificing 12 years of your life to defend our country. Thank you for answering the call to serve. Thank you for thinking of others before thinking of yourself.

That’s why, after holding the stock for almost 20 years, I sold my shares of Nike (NKE) yesterday.

I used to love this company. I loved the shoes.

My first real job was as a salesman at Athletic Shoe Factory. I was hired in large part because I was a cross-country runner in high school. I had some knowledge of shoes – during the heyday of running. And I favored Nike shoes above anything else put out by the competition.

But I can’t support the company anymore. And I won’t own its stock.

You can say “Just do it.” And that’s motivational.

But there’s nothing motivational about disrespecting the American flag.

I get it… You can argue about social injustice. You can argue about police brutality. You can argue about racism. Most of those arguments are valid and deserve discussion.

And, in respect of the American flag, let’s have that conversation. Let’s talk about the inner-city violence. Let’s talk about police brutality. Let’s deal with the folks who get arrested for being in the wrong area at the wrong time.

But don’t burn the American flag. Don’t take a knee and disrespect the idea that so many have died to protect. Don’t protest during the singing of the national anthem.

It’s an insult to everyone who served to protect you.

The American flag waves to say “thank you” to everyone who has served to protect liberty and freedom.

Nike sees things differently. And I see things differently from Nike.

So, I can’t own the stock anymore.

Best regards and good trading,

Jeff Clark

Reader Mailbag

Today in the mailbag, a Delta Report subscriber gives their impressions of the service…

I find the Delta Report professional and very helpful. I must say that I have learned a lot from Jeff, for which I thank him. Until now, I have made money and cannot complain.

– Heinz

And several other readers lend their thoughts on Monday’s piece, “My Wife Is a Murderer”…

What a brilliant post! I laughed all the way through it, and also loved your unique combo of humility and persistence.

– Frederic

Great story with the orchids. With your penchant for gold, perhaps some gold flakes in the water/soil will do the trick!

– Jerry

Aren’t orchids seasonal? I’m waiting for fall for my plant to sprout back to life. I’m not going to think about gold stocks too much anymore. The powers that be will do anything to defend the dollar and debt.

– Dennis

Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful insights. We look forward to reading them every day, so keep them coming right here.

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