We volunteered for Make A Difference Day at Summit County’s bus barn in Frisco recently, and strange and wonderful things happened. Several hundred volunteers gathered early on a snowy morning, fortifying themselves for the work ahead with burritos and coffee. An event organizer announced that a Boy Scout Color Guard was marching in to present the American flag. The crowd stopped talking, stood at attention, with hands over hearts; and in unison, respectfully recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
With all the bitterness and discord displayed recently in our nation’s capitol, that was a refreshing insight into how America really works. In that large crowd, there were, no doubt, Democrats, Republicans, independents; and possibly Libertarians, Greens and even Tea Partiers (although everyone seemed much more friendly and upbeat than that faction typically is).
The amazing thing was that nobody tried to shut down the event because they hated some law that Summit County, one of the event sponsors, had passed several years ago (or the leaders who supported it). Nobody grabbed the microphone and “fili-blustered” for hours, delaying everybody getting their work done. Nobody shouted that they didn’t want their tax money spent helping those who need help. And nobody claimed that the government can’t do anything right, nor that the government (in the words of Ronald Reagan) “is the problem”. It was clear that on this day, this government was working to solve problems, and doing good things in the process.
So all these Democrats, Republicans, and otherwise-affiliated (or unaffiliated) Americans recited the pledge, then worked together at local schools, parks, historic sites, and the senior center, to make our community a better place. They treated each other with courtesy and respect, and didn’t ask (or care about) each other’s political beliefs. And the powerful simplicity of the words in the Pledge of Allegiance reflected the sense of community so sadly lacking in Washington, D.C. today: “…one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
That sense of community made us grateful again to live in Summit County; and in spite of what we’ve seen in Congress recently, made us proud again to live in America.