Two days ago for the 33rd year I witnessed the Moscow Parade. I watched as the Women's Lawn Chair Brigade clapped their lawn chairs together with precision, while thinking of my three friends that lost their battle to cancer. They participated until they could march no longer. Next came the Men's Marching Band and what a joy to see the grandson of another friend on his shoulders. Other evidence of the next generation came marching by and I thought how wonderful to see the generations participate.
For those of you that do not know anything about this parade there are certain rules. The floats are not allowed to be put together until the morning of the parade. Most times there are political statements to be made, such as global warming. This year, Al and Tipper Gore (not the real ones) were riding behind a group of teenagers bearing signs of what Stowe would be like in 2020.There would be tennis in December, scuba diving in November, soccer in January and other summer events would take during our normal snowy months. Of course, it would not be a parade without Paris Hilton in attendance. Some Stowe politics involved our beloved Bob Barnes dressed up as a bride unable to hold her wedding at his Peterson Brook Farm. He was denied an events permit due to noise pollution. And every parade needs fire trucks. Stowe Volunteer Fire Department shined up their trucks and tankers and brought every piece of equipment they own out to show off to us. What a spectacular array.
So ends another year celebrating our freedom. But I wonder just exactly how much freedom we have left. Are we losing our right to chose, are we mixing church and state where specifically in our constitution it forbids this? Have we lost our voice by giving the President more power than he has the capacity to handle? Do we have a right to impose our values on those that are raised with other values? What has given us the right to allow prisoners to languish in prisons without a right to a fair trial? Is this the country of the free and the brave? I think we are a country of cowards and complacency not to stand up for our beliefs, to insist that our government represent the people.
I spent my youth in Gettysburg, PA. and I would like to include that famous speech given during the Independence Day celebration on the site of the cemetery dedicated to the unknown soldiers. As a child on Memorial Day I walked with all my classmates over these graves strewing flowers in silence. It was a very poignant moment, even as a child I understood that these men fought for our independence. In conclusion I ask you all to read this Gettysburg Address and ponder how far away from this we have come.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
We should remember that the government is "of the people, by the people, for the people." It is time to take a stance for what we believe in and take back our government.
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