Independent and United

Posted by on Jul 4, 2015 in Blog, Uncategorized |

Independent and United

This is a column I wrote for the Newberry Observer, in Newberry, SC several years ago. It is included in the book just released, “You Ain’t From Here, Are Ya?”. It was true then. It is true now. God Bless and Save America.

Final Cover

Everywhere I look there are reminders that the 4th of July is next week,. When I walked downtown this morning, they were putting out the flags on Main Street. Even the blooming crepe myrtles coordinate with the flags and banners.

Words like Independence and United run through my head. While I still believe we live in the best country in the world, I wonder sometimes if those words are really still true in America.

We are constantly bombarded with fighting between our elected leaders and reminded of our differences by people who speak about the red states versus the blue states. I don’t feel very united.

And, with all of us so dependent on the government to provide many of our daily needs as well as foreign governments to lend us money, I really question our independence.

This week I was reminded of what America is all about, how it is supposed to be. I have a friend who moved from South Dakota to Minot, North Dakota. We still keep in touch via Facebook. I have watched in horror as the flooding threatened and then consumed not just her home, but her entire neighborhood, indeed an entire section of her city.

As I watched the reports something struck me. These people didn’t holler for the government to come save them. No, they loaded their belongings into cars, vans, trucks, and cattle trailers and emptied out their houses. Those whose homes weren’t threatened showed up to help. People who had space took in families, belongings, or both. Once the evacuees’ belongings were safe, they went back to help someone who wasn’t done yet.  People lent their RV’s to perfect strangers and even stocked them with food. They were United against the force of nature that threatened their community.

The thing is, the people in North Dakota are a proudly independent, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps sort. They don’t ask for help. They believe in doing it themselves. But, when they come to the end of the rope, they will call out for help. And, if you are one of the lucky ones who isn’t experiencing the trial, you get under the rope ready to catch.

That’s independence and united rolled into one situation.

Thankfully, in the time I’ve been in Newberry, we haven’t had any major disasters. I get the sense, though, that people here would be the help-each-other-out sort. This town is full of people who get real joy from helping others and I am privileged to know several of them.

I believe this is a city-country difference. People in the small towns and rural areas are more in touch with their neighbors, feel more connected. When a disaster strikes, they help because they know these people and they know it could just as easily have been them.

I pray that we won’t ever have to find out how well we work together in the face of disaster, but if we do, I’m thankful Newberry is a place filled with people ready to stand under the end of the rope.

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