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Fourth of July afterglow

July 09, 2020 - 06:00
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  • Fourth of July afterglow
    Fourth of July afterglow

The Fourth of July 2020 has come and gone and I’m afraid my spirits are full of emotions as the weekend has just come to a close.

On July 4, 1776, the United States gained its independence from the tyranny of the British empire. It had been a long battle and many great men and women lost their lives fighting for the freedom of our country. Last week, we celebrated their triumph and their resilience that would become part and parcel of our great country.

Although there were many towns and cities scattered across a turbulent yet unresolved country presence, the Louisiana Purchase of over 800,000 acres from Napoleon Bonaparte and the French would give the U.S. a chance to rightly claim its domain. How would they go about doing it?

The Meriwether Lewis and William Clark expedition. The brainchild of President Thomas Jefferson, the idea was for the expedition to depart St. Louis, Missouri and travel up the Missouri River with the hope of reaching the Pacific Ocean before returning home.

Departing on May 14, 1804, some 51 days later, the celebration of the first Fourth of July after independence in 1776 would take on a much different light than some might expect. Out in the wilderness, the celebration of these 46 men, four horses and one dog simply entailed an early morning gun shot across the bow of their keelboat to recognize the day.

From there, a snake bite to the foot of Jo Fields and the discovery of a 12-yardwide creek named Independence Creek to honor the day was about it. Simple yet poignant in remembering the real reason for the celebration.

This year, our celebration was marred by so many things. First and foremost, COVID-19, continuing unrest in the country from weeks of anger, frustration and protesting and the demand of many to remove the name of the Washington Redskins after decades of tradition and honor of that franchise.

About the only real positive I felt in earnest was the start of workouts for my beloved Atlanta Braves. And my deep thoughts of gratitude for those that fought and died for our independence and for those men in that expedition that spent 862 days in the wilderness to open our country up to becoming what it is today.

Interestingly, during the Lewis and Clark expedition, only one man lost his life and that was because of what we know today as appendicitis. They all left together and they all came home together.

And along the way, the expedition encountered at least 52 Native American tribes that had never laid an eye on a white man. But yet, nary a bullet or arrow was ever fired in a battle or fight among these peoples that couldn’t communicate with a universal language but had to find a way.

Yes, there were some tense times indeed but they always found a way to work things out.

Now, corporations and others are demanding Daniel Snyder change the name of his football team because it is what, insensitive? Insulting? Forget about the tradition thing they are saying.

We can all speak in a universal language now. Why can’t we work it out? Why don’t people want to listen to the experts who tell us day in and day out to wear a mask, wash our hands and maintain social distancing to cut the spread of a virus that has killed how many thousands?

I am glad to see sports starting to ease open some but I can’t shake the feeling we are being way premature. It is too early. That’s my opinion and I hope I’m wrong, totally wrong, but I’m not feeling it.

Happy to see my Braves back on the field with about three weeks or so to get ready for a 60-game dash to the trophy. The Georgia High School Association is loosening the reins some on continued workouts and that is good news in the sporting circles but again, the haste is a little unnerving. People will tell me to get over it and move on and I will try my best.

I want to see sports return to all their glory just as bad as everybody else does but my question keeps coming back to the cost. Not monetarily but in terms of a human life.

It is just not worth it.

This is Got a minute. I’m out albeit jumpy, nervy and anxious.