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This Week

Play On!

Louis Roney

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Whatever concept of God you have, if you have been around the world a bit, you’ll recognize that “America” is blessed real estate.

If that fact had not been true, the Pilgrims would have turned their ships around and sailed home.

Once our forebears started governing themselves in Virginia, Massachusetts, etc., people in the countries they had left began to compare their lives with ours, and theirs were often found wanting.

France’s revolution was some 14 years after ours, and England began to modify its monarchy in such ways that the crown remains today only as a national symbol.

America, our “sweet land of liberty”, has inexorably changed, as does a beautiful young girl who grows into a handsome, intelligent woman.

We have shared the burdens of a weary old world, in the ways that a solicitous son might look after his care-ridden father.

World War I — “the war to end all wars” — produced wholesale battlefield slaughter seldom experienced in all human history — and for what?

Learning little or nothing from WWI, we created a political climate that generated another world war, which used advanced weapons capable of killing whole populations at a stroke.

Various and sundry smaller wars have come and gone and have left their funereal memories in thousands of American homes.

A simple Central Florida country boy like me must be forgiven if he can’t keep score in this baffling worldwide game of war(s).

Throughout, “America” remains emblazoned brightest in my thoughts and devotion.

We hear much of “mistakes” made by the U.S. Who expects perfection?

I can often remedy my own mistakes. However, macrocosmic, international mistakes are not amendable save by the unlikely willingness of world powers.

In the summer of 1939, after my freshman year in college, I got a job driving a kitchen bus on a coast-to-coast educational tour. For the first time, I saw unfolding before my eyes the great map of the U.S. in its staggering totality.

How well I remember driving across the hot flat plains of Kansas that extended into the first half of Colorado. Then, one day I saw a great mountain that dwarfed everything else in sight. That night, I slept on the ground at the foot of 14,110-foot Pike’s Peak and wondered what the thoughts were of the first pioneers when they encountered the Rocky Mountains!

The next day I walked to the top of Pike’s Peak and looked back upon the prairie land I had driven across the previous two days.

I have been up Pike’s Peak several times in recent years, and each visit brings back to me the majesty of our country when seen from nearly 3 miles above the Earth.

“All of this is mine,” I thought — and it’s yours as well.

During many years of singing in Europe, I never forgot that I was, in fact, an “ambassador” of the United States, and that my actions would bring either honor or shame to my great homeland. That thought guided me wherever I was. Let us hope that future Americans will conduct themselves as irresistible advertisements — for, you see, there is no other place like America on the face of this Earth. Happy Fourth of July!