The day started out in the true spirit of the time each year that we celebrate the founding of this great country. The park in Menan lay in deep, rich coloring of early summer as the veterans memorial team opened with the raising of the flag, followed by the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The temperature was perfect and little wind. One could feel the true spirit of the day in this, one of thousands of towns and small communities spread across this great land where people come together for a day of rejoicing in the freedoms that we benefit from. Outside of town, the landscape sweeps away under broad skies into a seemingly limitless immensity.

Discord, hatred and bad faith of a relative few threaten to undo this nation with a misguided ideology. In places like this, that all seems far away. We are fortunate, indeed, to live where we do and people are cordial to one another and reflect a higher standard of behavior. Those of us who have started out our years in parts of the country, some now torn by division, can feel blessed in the opportunity to find a home and sense of purpose in places such as this, where one can feel the heart of America in the land, the sky and, yes, this wonderful, largely unsullied, expanse of geography and geology that inspires the soul, strengthens the individual and encourages a proper perspective and humility for the gift of life itself.

Evan Tibbott