Happy 4th of July


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On this day of family picnics, and fireworks and joy, take just a few minutes to say thanks for the privilage of being an American. Most of us have never lived anywhere else, and especially not in a third world country where our freedom and liberties are unheard of. Life is not perfect  in America, but it the only place I would ever want to be. With the majestic landscapes, from ocean shores to rocky mountains, to wind swept prairies to rolling hills – there is no place like home.

Unless you are a native American, your family once came from somewhere else. Perhaps it was just a generation ago . . .  or perhaps like my family, you have been hear since this all began in 1776.  My father’s family first arrived in America  on Nov. 9, 1738. They sailed on a ship called the “Charming Nancy” and they only spoke German. It took over a hundred years for my mother’s family to make it to the “new world” from Sweden in mid 1850’s. Eventually both families ended up in Ohio and two families merged into one, the first mix of nationalities when my parents married in 1940.

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The homestead house, painted by Koczwara, still owned by my cousin

I was fortunate to grow up on the same land that my father, and grandfather and great-grandfather lived on. My neighbors were my cousins  and life was a simpler time. Now only one family member lives on the family homestead, that is soon to fall out of the family forever. It saddens me to know that part of our history will be gone. But we are more than “Boardmanites” or Ohioians, we are Americans.

I am one of those people who can’t sing the Star Spangled Banner because of the lump in my throat.  I stand when our flag passes me in a parade , and I put my hand over my heart. I understand the sacrifice that hundred of thousands of men and women have paid since 1776 to give us the country we have today. No, it’s not perfect and as long as we have humans in all our frailties, it will never be perfect  . . . but This is MY Country, Land that I Love.

Remember those that gave their lives for our freedom today. And take a minute to pause for the other types of heroes as well . .  . the first responders, the police, the paramedics, the fireman —- ah, the fireman. While you re splashing on the beach, or clapping to the high school marching band, say a little prayer for the families of the 19 fireman that lost their life in the Arizona fires.

Then laugh from your belly, sing a little more in key, clap your hands a little louder and ooh and ahh at every firework, and say “Thanks for letting me be an American.”

Have fun and stay safe.

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