Sunday, July 4, 2010
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!
Well, here I am, safely on Crete again for the third time in as many years. I arrived here on July 2, 2010, suffering from a serious case of "jet lag". I tried to stay up, but at about 8:00 P.M. Friday evening, I succumbed to the effects of "jet lag" and did not get up until almost 10:00 A.M. Saturday morning! I know what you are thinking. "Did Bob go to sleep, or did he go into a coma?" At any rate, I got up Saturday morning, feeling much better than I had on Friday evening!
Now, to get away from the above subject, I just wanted to wish all of you a "Great & Happy Fourth of July". I know that on this day, many of you will attend picnics, family reunions, community celebrations and fireworks displays. I just hope that none of us will ever lose sight of the real reason for celebrating the Birth of this Great Nation of ours. Sometimes, I think when we look at the direction from which our Nation has come, and compare it with the direction in which it is headed, we can become a little pessimistic - I know I do. But, having said that, I would like to share something that happened to me on my trip to Crete in 2008: One day while waiting for the local bus in the little seaside village of Amoudara, I happened to meet two of the nicest American girls that one could possibly hope to meet. One thing that I have discovered is that while visiting a foreign country for any length of time, it is ALWAYS nice to hear someone speaking your native tongue. When I heard Sabryna and Roxy speaking English, I immediately struck up a conversation with them and over a short time, the three of us became fast friends. Sabryna and Roxy were on Crete participating in a college co-operative with Drexel College in Philadelphia, the school they were attending. After the initial meeting, we would often go out to lunch or dinner together, or sometimes they would prepare a home-cooked meal in their little apartment and invite me over.
One morning, Sabryna knocked on the door of my apartment, and insisted that she, Roxy, and I just "had" to get together that evening for dinner to celebrate. "Celebrate?", I asked. "Yes! Don't you know what today is? It's the Fourth of July! Just because we are in a foreign country is no reason not to celebrate our Nation's birthday!" I have to say that I was just a little more than embarrassed and ashamed. I have always thought of myself as somewhat of a flag-waver and a patriot, but here on one of the most significant days in our Nation's history, I had forgotten. Shame on me! But, what struck me as more significant than the fact that I had forgotten the Fourth of July, was that Roxy and Sabryna had remembered! I know from personal experience that I have often been skeptical when I look at today's youth, and wonder if they are capable to assume the mantle of leadership in the days and years ahead. Then, along comes someone like Sabryna and Roxy, who help to instill a confidence, a reassurance and a sense of hope that all will be fine - that our Nation will not just endure...but, through the Grace of God, it shall prevail.
That evening, Sabryna, Roxy, and I sat in a restaurant that overlooked the ancient Venetian Fortress in Iraklion harbor. From our elevated vantage point, we had a wonderful view of the fortress, bathed in white flood-lights. I couldn't help but imagine how tiny Fort McHenry must have looked on the evening when it sustained a continual and heavy bombardment from the British ships in Baltimore Harbor, and how it had refused to surrender. Then I looked at the faces of Sabryna and Roxy and how the reflected light from the fortress shone on their faces almost like an aurora. It was then that I realized as long as there were young men and women like Sabryna and Roxy who refused to forget the significance and importance of our National heritage, perhaps there was still hope for our Country and our Future. God Bless Sabryna and Roxy...wherever you are, and may God continue to Bless America! Happy Fourth of July!!!
Your Friend and Fellow "Silent Warrior",