July has arrived and with it comes the heat. We like to think of this as good weather for growing cotton. Hot days and hot nights. Let’s hope the weather holds. The farmers could use a break. As for me, it is whine time. I am soooo not a summer person.
The 4th of July – Independence Day – the day we celebrate our independence from England is Thursday. Our country will celebrate its 243 birthday. We celebrate with fireworks, food and drink, music and general good will. You can also celebrate all month with the Rector Community Museum. It has super patriotic window displays and it is open on Saturdays 10:00 – 4:00 and Sundays 1:00 – 4:00. And guess what! Marvin Gatewood fixed the front door, so it is easier than ever to enter. If you have any Ford Theater memorabilia you want to share with the museum, it will be appreciated as they are beginning to form a Ford Theater room in the back.
Other ways to celebrate the 4th is at one of the picnic’s around the area. One of my earliest memories is the parade and picnic at Piggott. Always a lot to do and a lot of good food at the picnic. You can also get a look at the local politicians. Of course, the beauty pageants may be more to your liking. Did I mention the food, the rides, the games you can play? There is entertainment too, of course.
The 4th of July is a time I usually look back at the events that created this nation and measure the distance we have covered. The early settlers were a hodge-podge of bored and displaced gentry, serfs, outlaws and people wanting to avoid religions persecution. They saw this unimproved continent as the promised land, a land they could mold into their dreams.
It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t always pretty. They made a lot of mistakes along the way, but the streets we walk today are because of them. The dreams we have tonight will be because of them. It is our history and because it is ours, we need to own it, know it and pay attention to it. There is more to the meaning of July 4th than hot dogs and Ferris wheels.
Our past is complicated, and we must make conscious efforts to hold close the good things we have accomplished and to not repeat the previous mistakes. This land is ours and was won with the blood of our ancestors. Many of them the indigenous people who had lived here for centuries. It was built on the backs of slaves who were brought here and held here against their will. It has been secured by the lives of millions of men and women of all races, religions, ethnicities and personal preferences who fought for it. We owe them all. They all paid the price.
As you watch the fireworks this year, you might think of the battles fought for the right to be here. As you enjoy a good meal, you might think about the Native Americans that shared their knowledge and their food with the new commers. As you listen to the politicians who will speak at the fairgrounds, listen hard for the truth. This land did not always belong to us and the future is not secure.
That’s it for this week. Watch for the storms, stay cool, when you can and enjoy all the summer activities that make you happy. And be sure you pets are secure and safe before the fireworks start. You might also remember that an awful lot of those men and women who have fought for you in other inconvenient places and suffer from PTSD are also affected negatively by fireworks. Be courteous.
What else is going on that you would like to see in this column. Give me a heads up and I will share it with everyone else. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Phone number (870) 595-4997. Check out your Rector, Arkansas website: www.rectorarkansas.com from time to time. I love to be told I need to update it and I take all suggestions to heart. Take a look.
Goodbye for now.