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Summer reflections: Remembering the past as we prepare to move forward

By Marty Cayton, posted Aug 11, 2022 on

I don’t know about you, but it seems like I blinked and July was in the rear view! What a great month to spend time with family and friends celebrating life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. During this time, I had some quiet moments to catch up on some reading and writing. I had fallen behind answering questions from an app my wife bought me a subscription to called Storyworth. Storyworth periodically sends you questions to answer that will later be placed into a book for your family to reflect on. So, as I took some time off on Independence Day morning, I decided to answer one of the questions below. 


FROM STORYWORTH: Marty, How has the country changed during your lifetime?


What a great question to try and answer on the anniversary of our country’s 246 years of independence. Some of my earliest childhood memories were in the backdrop of historical events. I vaguely remember as a toddler my daddy watching Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins walk on the moon. I also remember gas lines and Watergate. I didn’t understand what was happening but I did understand that it was important to the adults. I remember watching President Nixon resigning on television just before we were leaving for a summer weekend away in little Washington, NC. I remember the day President Reagan was shot. I was in the eighth grade at baseball practice. I guess I could go on and on about my specific memories of significant events such as the space shuttle explosion, Clinton’s scandal, 9/11, etc. 


The country goes on. And I pray that as long as we have this earth as our home, it will continue with the freedoms our forefathers wrote about. It is not a guarantee. World history would predict otherwise. Most long lasting forms of government eventually have come to an end. 


When I was a kid, I was taught to honor and serve my country. I am proud to be an American. It is an exceptional place, even with all of its past and present flaws. In some ways, it seemed the US was more patriotic when I was a kid. We seemed to hold more honor for the symbols that represented our freedoms, such as the flag, the pledge of allegiance, the Fourth of July, etc. 


Every generation has the opportunity to build on the foundation that our forefathers laid; to make the house stronger and truer to its original plan or not. I believe the current generation is getting it right and doing their part. One way they are excelling is their efforts to help all generations be more active and accountable in recognizing the inequalities of the past and correcting these moving forward. They are building a framework to make sure all citizens are included in the original ideal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 


My hope for this and future generations is that we would be careful not to minimize the freedoms and beliefs of others in the process. The vilification of those that don’t support certain policies and ways of thinking is un-American, and worse, dangerous. 


It is my prayer that as Americans, we would continue to protect each other’s pursuit of life, liberty and happiness - no matter what our individual beliefs may be. I also pray that as we do this, our imperfect efforts would be blessed by our God and creator. It is my belief that He controls all and is involved in the daily lives of everyone-working His perfect will. 


Welcome to August. God bless you and yours!

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