Tuesday, June 21, 2005


I was on the beach earlier today with my family and had one of those moments where I completely forget the task at hand and my mind wanders into thoughts completely removed from what I am doing and where I am. This often happens when I am performing repetitive tasks such as mowing the lawn or doing yard work. I can’t begin to tell you how many ideas I have had that I was sure would revolutionize the modern world during times like these, only to completely forget what it was as soon as the mower stopped running.

Today, however, was different.

I was lying on the beach watching the children play in the water, sailboats and jet skis out on the open water, and seagulls float on the breeze when it happened. My eyes gazed at the horizon and I went into my typical lawn mowing trance. I started thinking about history, and I would be willing to bet that I was the only one. I started thinking about all of the important events in the history of our country that happened on the waters that lay before me.

Directly in front of me, many miles beyond the last visible whitecap, is England, the place where the American dream truly began. People with a desire for religious freedom traveled across these waters in boats ill equipped for the purpose in search of a New World they knew little or nothing about. I imagine few people have that kind of faith anymore.

To my left, about 15-20 miles up the coast, lay Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter, the place where the first shots of the Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861. Additionally, The H. L. Hunley, the confederate submarine credited with being the first such craft to sink a warship, the USS Housatonic, sunk in Charleston harbor on February 17, 1864.

These waters, it could be said, have our nation’s history embedded in the crests of its waves. Practically every event that transpired in the founding and early history of this great nation, started somewhere out on that great ocean.

Our forefathers crossed it in the name of freedom. We have since gone back across it to provide freedom to countless others. Terrorists crossed over it to try to take that freedom from us, we crossed it once again to let them know that wasn’t going to happen.

Everything that has crossed that ocean has not been good, slavery being the most horrific example, but on balance, we have what we have because brave people made the journey for a better life and risked all crossing that ocean in search of it.

After today, I can’t imagine myself looking at it the same way again.


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