Growing up on a farm out in the middle of nowhere in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the 1970’s and 80’s provided little access to the world. We were twenty miles from the nearest hospital in one direction and twenty miles from the nearest ‘big town’ of Houghton in the other. At the time we had only 3 TV channels and sometimes 2 radio stations, depending on the weather. I do not even remember having a TV until I was 4 or 5 years old. I vividly remember watching Captain Kangaroo on a brand new black and white 19 inch box that dad had brought home after work one afternoon. He set it up in a corner of our small 10 by 12 living room and as mom was getting dinner ready we watched the good Captain and Mr. Green Jeans. We were small town, small farm, big family, church-every-Sunday people; that was our life.
There are those these days who would like to tell you what you must believe, who you must follow, what you can say or not say, what is important and who is insignificant…who deserves punishment and who has earned forgiveness. We have all done or said things we regret and most of us have tried to make things right as best we can. The greatest thing we could do to have the greatest impact on the world we live in is the freedom to forgive and the grace to move on.
Tens of thousands have fought and died so we might have the right to live free, pray freely, and speak freely. Here in America you can be small-town or big-city or boonies. You can be farmer or framer, banker or baker. Your life can be chaotic or laid-back, free-wheeling or time-stamped. I believe in rugged individualism, work before play, do it well or don’t do it at all, give without thought of gain and help without hurting, and freedom in all things as long as it doesn’t prevent someone else from being free. This is the America I grew up in; this is the America that is worth fighting and dying for.
Today…on this Memorial Day and the not far off July 4th…couldn’t we all agree, “…that our flag was (is) still there” waving over the land of the free and the home of the brave!