The land of the free…for you and me.
No fireworks here, just Americans…exploding in everyday gratitude.
I took a stroll and a bike ride this week, across Long Beach, across the sand, across the boards, to see all of us in our many hues, amidst our America.
It was a walk through a magnificent mural of a land, a free land that some of us take for granted. A fantastic freedom, from sea to shining sea.
Realize this: People risk their lives over deadly desert sands, or float on flimsy rafts over waters that often drink them up, just to just reach our shores, just to touch our freedom.
When I see our lifeguards they remind me of our service veterans who watched out for us…who guarded our lives, often at loss of their own.
Realize this: Our sunny shores are very unlike the sands of Utah and Omaha beaches, Guadalcanal or Iwo Jima. As we squiggle our toes way down deep, where it’s moist and cool, may we never forget the fallen who bled warm blood into sands…so far from home.
Realize this: Our children are safe…
…where no bombs burst……nor bullets strafe.
Hear an airplane? it’s probably a seaplane headed to the Hamptons, not toting barrel bombs.
Smell that distinct scent? it’s the salt of the sea…not sarin gas.
But yes, we are an America with new challenges, our environment among them. We are awakening to this effort to make our globe cleaner and greener. I know we’ve had setbacks but I see progress daily, green progress, at the grassroots…person by person.
This week I saw Donna picking up balloon-ribbons on our beach. I congratulated her and I told Donna she not only perhaps saved a shorebird, she also set a meaningful example to all who saw her efforts.
I captured a paddle boarder who captured discarded balloons. Great job, paddler…
…especially since your effort did cost you a dunk.
I came upon Idriys Billings working the hot summer sands. He was pushing a cart loaded to the gunnels with dry ice, ice cream, ices, cold water, and sodas. Someone wanted to pay for their ice cream with Apple Pay. Idriys was not familiar with that sort of payment.
Idriys, you see is 16, lives in Brooklyn and was at his first day working this job, his first day working…any job. Remember your own first day on your very first job?
“It’s hard work”, Idriys said, but he has his heart set on working for himself someday, not for someone else.
Idriys is an amateur boxer in NYC and I suspect that pushing this heavy cart through the sand won’t hurt in that pursuit. From the confidence Idriys displayed, I suspect he’ll one day succeed in this land of the free…this land of opportunity.
The boardwalk was awash in family and flags.
Taking photos in front of the red, white and blue brought a smile to their faces…and mine.
Americans, so proud, so happy to BE among the FREE. Yes, it was the Fourth of July and there were sparkles of joy, explosions of laughter.
Let us be grateful, not just the Fourth of July, but the fifth of January.
Live, laugh, enjoy!
But be forever thankful…wherever you may be.
From the City by the Sea,