quotOh say can you seequot

"Oh say can you see..."

Boston visit reminds of us why we celebrate the Fourth of July

About three weeks ago we took a family road trip, leaving  Northeast Tennessee and driving  through the western tip of Virginia, through West Virginia and on up to Pittsburg, from where we headed east and north through Upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, down to Boston and Plymouth, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. We slipped through a piece of New Jersey, New York again (dodging the Big Apple), and into Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where we spent the last evening of our 10-day, 11-state, tour.

Our entourage included our daughter Stacey, son-in-law Paul, the world’s best grandsons Aaron, Hunter and Walker, and of course Pat and me.

 I could write an opus on the wonders we witnessed, the gorges, the waterfalls, the pristine lakes, majestic mountains, wildlife (including a bear encounter for Stacey, Paul and Walker) and the lovely farms and vineyards, but I’m too near deadline and fearful of oversharing, so I’ll just mention, on this July 4 weekend, Boston, Mass.

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I last visited Boston in 1975 and recall walking the Freedom Trail. I attempted that again, but with 41 years of wear and tear on back and various joints (I was three weeks removed from knee surgery.), we decided to take a bus tour. It was worth the cost. 

If you’ve never been to Boston, the Freedom Trail, marked along the sidewalks in red, white and blue, features many of the locations you’ve read about in history books—site of the Boston massacre, Old North Church and Bunker Hill, for instance. The walk (or bus ride for older visitors) reminds us that an independent United States was not always a sure thing. It reminds us of the sacrifices early patriots made, risking everything for principles they knew to be just. It reminds us that we should never take those sacrifices for granted or hesitate to stand up for what we know to be just.

Boston reminds us that Americans have never agreed on every bit of policy, on every suggestion for the common good, or on every plan to make our country stronger.

This historic city stands as a reminder that people with diverse backgrounds, different ethnicities, and mixed economic situations can, when necessary, unite to create something magnificent.

As a country, we have never been perfect; we’ve not always been at our best; we’ve made mistakes. But for more than 240 years we’ve stood as a beacon of freedom, a symbol of what a people dedicated to upholding their “inalienable rights” can accomplish.

On this Fourth of July, in an historic election year, it behooves all of us to remember that this country was built on the ability to come together, to put aside difference and to find common ground to create a society worthy of “We the people.”

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