INDEPENDENCE DAY IN AMERICA inspires a revival of nostalgic images that represent the high ideals that established our country...pictures that endorse the securing and sustaining of FREEDOM in our land. Flags, fireworks, parades and backyard grilling (the radio just announced that 815 hot dogs will be consumed per second on this day), and back to re-telling America's story of INDEPENDENCE...It's truly something to celebrate. It's also something to be so very grateful for and not take for granted any day, ever. We can remember that the price (of fallen soldiers) and the fight (& destruction of land & property) for Independence was for the right to own and govern and preserve THE LAND. This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land...
So WHAT'S UP with Picher, Oklahoma? THAT'S ALL FOLKS, according to a newsreel this morning, reporting the exit of Picher's last-to-leave resident, 84-yr-old Orval "Hoppy" Ray. In it's pre-war days, the town of Picher was, one can only imagine, one of those small, industrial mining towns that, postured like others all over America at that time, strengthened the backbone and building up of our country. Today it's named as "one of the nation's largest and most polluted toxic-waste sites."*
Hoppy Ray was born and raised in the town of Picher, and writes (in his now published memoirs) of the brighter side of the place that he is concerned others have forgotten, reminding all of us that "a person's home should always be loved -- no matter how toxic... the town of "Picher was more than a place to make money. It was a place of patriotism and purpose: The metals they dug out of caves deep in the ground were processed and turned into bullets that armed U.S. soldiers in both world wars."* When the wars ended, so did, it seems, the world's interest in Picher. According to the report, the last mine shut down in 1970.
I found this story to be very moving, especially today, INDEPENDENCE DAY in America, because in spite of its current state of toxicity, this one, most cheerful resident who has seen it all, chooses to remember and share the ideal...the dream...a wonderful picture and snapshot of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness that the land was used for. Like a fallen soldier, he remembers it's soul.
Picher, OK is not "OK." Neither are a lot of things in America today, "OK"... but today is a day to remember and re-tell the stories...to honor what has fallen and be glad for the freedom and opportunity that we have to ELEVATE HOPE for a better country, a better world, because WE CAN...because we own the land. This land is your land, this land is my land...this is our home---no matter how toxic. Protecting our freedom and preserving our land, go hand-in-hand.
© Copyright 2009 - This posting is the property of Mara Hawks, All Rights Reserved.
Active in Alabama, Mara Hawks, REALTOR with FIRST REALTY of Auburn, AL, #1 Real Estate Team in Lee County, THE LEADER in professional real estate services in Auburn, Opelika & Lee County for over 3 decades! Committed to INTEGRITY, KNOWLEDGE & SERVICE.