I grew up in a small farming town in SE Idaho until the age of 15. We were almost all ranchers, farmers or small ancillary businesses owners. As kids we played every sport available, were in the FFA, 4H and most of us went to church. We hunted, fished, rode horses and also did stupid shit that only could be done in a rural community. All these things turned many of us into true, patriotic Americans.
We moved due to a personal economic crisis my parents endured when I was 15 and then for a better job when I was 17. About 20 years ago my parents moved back to that town and though my Dad passed about 7 years ago, my Mom remains there. One of the best things about growing up there was the 4th of July celebration. It was (and still is) a town wide multi-day celebration.
It starts with the Welsh Festival the week before the 4th. (My home town has the largest percentage of Welsh descendants by population outside of Wales itself). People there are proud of their heritage. The 4th celebration includes a sunrise Cannonaid by the local VFW post. A pancake breakfast. A parade. A music festival throughout the day. Kids races. A concert by someone as famous as they can get (Last year was Nathan Osmond – a son of one of the Osmand Brothers).
At dark they spend what seems like half the city budget on a fireworks show which is much better than many large cities fireworks I have seen. But the thing that stands out as much now as it did almost 45 years ago when I first started paying attention to the 4th of July events, is that my home town loves America. You can FEEL it. Over the years I have taken vacation so that my kids could experience it as often as possible.
When my older daughters were young I took them for several years until their competitive softball careers made it impossible. I have taken my younger set of kids multiple times over the last 10 years so they have that experience as well. We went last year on the 4th of July as I felt it was critical that I took my family to a place that seemingly ignored the vagaries in the world and did all they could to celebrate that thing that makes all that we once had, and can have again, possible.
Make no mistake, we owe EVERYTHING to America and those who gave life, limb and fortune to provide us with liberty. It doesn’t change what we owe because it is now hard, uncomfortable and even painful. It actually requires we do more as it is our duty to do so. For our posterity as well as our forebearers.
The reason I decided to write this was I found a pocket Constitution on a shelf today.
It was given to each of my kids when we went with my Mom to the community Senior Center for lunch on July 3rd when we rolled into town. It touched me and still brings a lump to my throat at the simple, yet profound patriotism that those people who are well past their fighting years but still are doing what they can to Make America Great Again.
I used to get choked up whenever I heard the Star-Spangled Banner. I could never finish singing it and I am not an overly emotional guy except for family, God and County. But the last couple of years has really done a number on me and now I just feel rage when I hear that song. Not because I don’t love America, I do. I would volunteer to serve again even though I am getting old.
But the rage comes from a place I have never really known and that is of one where something that is in the top three most important things in my life has literally been ripped from my heart.
So back to my story. Today when I found that booklet, it clicked inside for me. I don’t fear losing our country.
They will never give in to tyranny. How do I know this? I just do. And here is the thing: My home town is only one of many. Flyover country, deplorables, hicks, farm boys and girls, broad shouldered family farmers, construction workers, small business owners and on and on cover this great nation.
While they may have been silent, complying, patient to this point, make no mistake it isn’t because of weakness or apathy. It is because they are good people.
But even good people have a line and I pray that line is never crossed because there is no going back once stepped over. I think the tide has turned.
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