OPINION- I’m going to take a slight departure from exposing the fallacies and methods that are being used to separate us from our freedoms and instead share a few observations about why America still works.
This past weekend saw many Independence Day celebrations throughout Southern Utah. Some were very highly organized and included parades, all-day attractions, and massive amounts of fireworks synchronized with blaring music. If you attended one of these events, I’m certain you had a great time and I won’t try to convince you otherwise.
I wish to tell you about a smaller celebration that took place in the city of Enoch.
What made this one unique stems from the fact that Enoch city officials had to make a tough call this year and acknowledge that there simply wasn’t enough money in their budget to justify city-sponsored festivities and fireworks. While Enoch isn’t the only small city in Southern Utah that is suffering growing pains, it was refreshing to see municipal leaders willing to recognize that there are limits to their spending.
The people of Enoch faced a choice: they could complain about how it’s the city’s responsibility to provide Fourth of July entertainment or they could do something about it themselves. They chose the latter course.
With only 2 weeks to spare, a number of citizens came together voluntarily and put together their own celebration. They got permission to hold the gathering on a large swath of privately-owned land and invited everyone to come and enjoy. The festivities included a potluck dinner, a dutch oven cook-off, a patriotic program, door prizes, family games, and an outdoor movie.
All of the food, games, sound systems and prizes were donated by private individuals. Residents spread the word via social media. The local radio station provided free publicity for the event as a public service and hand-lettered signs directed participants to the correct location.
I was privileged to be asked to participate in the patriotic program and to help judge the dutch oven cook-off, so I was there helping the organizers set things up prior to the event. Even though heavy clouds were threatening to rain on their party, the mood was cheerful and upbeat.
No one was complaining about how unfair it was that the burden had fallen to them to make things happen. Quite the opposite, in fact, everyone arriving was cheerfully asking how they could help get things set up. The event started on time and, even accounting for those who operate on Mormon Standard Time by showing up 15 minutes late, a crowd of roughly 200 were gathered by the time we started dinner.
Attendees included family members from the very young to the very old and a number of Enoch civic leaders were also in attendance. One of the people I spied at the gathering was Weslie Graham who is the editor of the Iron County Today weekly newspaper. Graham had ridden her bike from Cedar City to Enoch to cover the event because her car had bit the dust a few days earlier.
She could have assigned another reporter to the story or cited the hardship of not having a vehicle but instead made the most of the situation and came anyway. Graham’s willingness to cheerfully do what it took to get the job done combined with the sight of dozens of families enjoying an Independence Day celebration of their own making sparked a realization in my mind.
I was witnessing the exact quality of independence that has been the heart and soul of America over more than two hundred years of history. The people of Enoch proved that America still works.
There was no sense of entitlement on display. People came forward of their own volition and selflessly donated their time and resources to benefit others. This willingness to take personal responsibility and to serve others without waiting for someone to give official permission or to simply do it for them was the foundation of the personal character that made America great.
Over many generations we have become accustomed to looking for state-sponsored or political solutions to every little challenge that arises. For a large part of American history, such solutions were unneeded because the people could be counted on to spontaneously organize themselves to solve problems.
America would be a better country if more of us practiced this independence.
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Bryan Hyde is a radio commentator and opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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