Oh say, can you see?

H. Anne Thurston-Brandly
H. Anne Thurston-Brandly, Beautiful Boyne
Local Author Anne Thurston-Brandley shares her thoughts as the words of the Star Spangled Banner play in her mind

By: H. Anne Thurston-Brandley
“Beautiful Boyne” 

Every once in a while some familiar tune takes up residency in my mind and I find myself listening to it, every so quietly humming it, off and on throughout the day. Well, this time the tune seems to have decided to move in for a ‘heaven only knows how long a stay’.

Oh, can you see the dawn’s early light? —- Our national anthems’ first words have been around a good many years longer than I have. Played at civic, state, national events we hear its melody and words over and over again. At the very first of this month I stood at the corner of Lake and Water on a very, very hot morning along with thousands of others with hand over heart and once again understood how fortunate I am to be a citizen of our great land.

At this time not a day passes but what we are reminded where we live and how we may live here in the United States. Recently many signs have suddenly emerged out on the yards of many homes within Boyne and other towns one might visit. I know this so well as in the northeast corner of our front yard a bright red and white version reminds the local resident to vote to support the Meals of Others program which daily feeds those in the area who need assistance with their food. Other signs promote area governmental figures. All are reminders to each of us to remember to find the few minutes of time in our daily routine to visit the city hall or township polls to help make important decision which will certainly affect you. It is about you, not just your neighbors or those you don’t know.

For those of us who have been fortunate to spend time in a foreign land (probably excluding Canada) we have learned more about just what it is which gives us the ability to live as we do. We do this by realizing exactly what ‘freedom’ means to us.

Others are not different than us in how we must live and have to make it, but are limited in how they may proceed to manage it all. The freedom of making up one’s own mind as we are permitted simply doesn’t exist.

An example of this certainly is the current pre-election activities we are subjected to daily on the news, in papers and even books. Even web sites, both private and community are saturated with the results of our country’s freedom of thought. Millions of dollars are being spent in an effort to assist us in knowing what and whom we should support by our one vote. A recent email I received from a non-local friend, but written by an unknown woman, clearly told me exactly who she was going to support in November’s election and thought I should. Thank heavens I live in this amazing land and can cancel her vote with mine!

We are appalled by the hatred we hear in lieu of valuable facts. In this time of financial loss among so many of us even more so is the thoughtless expenditure of money to air it all. Yet the alternative of violence and revolutionary action which is being used to bring about governmental change in other lands worldwide should remind us that no matter how financially stupid and vile sounding the American understanding of ‘freedom’ is way out in front of what most citizens of our world know today.

As a result we eat better, live longer, have more opportunity to love our neighbors and do for them as we would do for ourselves. I had a wonderful visit with a forty-seven year old nephew who lives on a mountain side in Pennsylvania this past week. He was in Michigan on his annual trip to Bliss Fest held up near Levering. His report was that sales were the lowest of all the years he has participated and that he would be giving the venture up. A fantastic student of American history he delved into the current election, recounting past times which are being repeated as a result of our great land’s struggle with its citizens opposing beliefs as to what way its government should accomplish its goals. It did my heart good to once again realize the value of the young in this land of ours. They are thinkers. I hope they will show up at the polls.

H. Anne Thurston-Brandley is a Boyne City resident, and the author of “E-Males” and “The Book of Anne.” Her column, Beautiful Boyne, appears in The Boyne City Gazette each week.

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