The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
By Elaine Slater Reese - Spring Green, Wi.
Two hundred thirty seven years - you have made so much history in that time. We have advanced in many ways. There have been amazing scientific discoveries. We have had countless leaders standing up for what our forefathers fought for. And on July 4th we will once again celebrate - not just the land, but the values you stand for and those who have through the years given tirelessly to protect those values.
It only seems appropriate that I should give you some presents as we celebrate. What could they be? I think with pride of this land where I live. You are definitely the greatest country in the world to call home. And as I think of your 237 years I remember the great respect we have had for you. And it is with sadnesss I see how things have changed. The focus of the majority seems to be on ME, ME, ME. Again, I am reminded of J.F. Kennedy's quote - "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." In your gift bag, I will put my commitment to do things for you right here in the community where I live. I can pick up crumpled paper blowing down the street. I can volunteer at the food pantry, the senior center, the nursing homes and assisted livings.
Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear someone belittle another person or bad mouth our government, our country. As much as I might be tempted to join those conversations, I can give you the gift of encouragement. I will bring up your positives.
I can give you, America, the gifts of caring and sharing. I will try every day to encourage someone. I will share with those I meet - whether it is my time, my encouragement, or just a smile. I will care about your citizens
I am not blind and, like others, see many things that I feel should now be handled differently in this land. As a gift to you, I promise to try to drop my negatives and find small ways that perhaps I can make my community better. Obviously, America, I can't wrap my gifts for you in bright paper and pretty bows. But please, Dear Country, look at my heart - see my love and appreciation for you and my promise to do what I can each day for you to continue to be the land of the free. GOD BLESS YOU, AMERICA!!!
(Elaine Slater Reese is a freelance writer in Spring Green, WI, who grew up in Hancock County near Bowen, IL)