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County Hall Corner: It’s Time for America to Grow Up

I wonder if we are living in a fantasy world rather than a real one. A good example would be from the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” which featured a little spoiled brat named Veruca Salt. She ‘found’ her golden ticket to visit the factory because her father bought hundreds of thousands of Wonka bars to get it for her. Then, when she and the other four children and their relatives went into the Wonka Chocolate Factory, they discovered that the entire facility was run by orange-skinned, green-haired little people known as the Oompa-Loompas. Veruca was enamored by them and demanded from her very rich father, “Daddy, I WANT an Oompa-Loompa, and I want one NOW!”

We are living amid a lot of Verucas these days. Consider the terminology that we have used for giving money to United States citizens and noncitizens alike. In my lifetime, I have seen it first identified as “assistance,” then it was considered as “benefits,” then it became “entitlements,” and now we are in an age of “reparations.”

California studied reparations for over a year with many hearings and committees. It concluded that all those who could trace their heritage back to slavery days deserved reparations of up to $5 million each. The great joy in California over this groundbreaking initiative came to a crashing halt when that nasty thing called Reality revealed that to actually initiate this would cost California’s entire state budget — THREE TIMES OVER!

Beyond money, it seems that a vast number of individuals in our society seek significance, and that requires recognition. And those who are in the category of having done nothing that could be considered noteworthy in their entire life must go the route of being “triggered,” “offended,” or “marginalized” to get attention. An example of this comes from the New York Post on Easter Sunday, no less. “Fire Department brass ordered an East Village ladder company to remove its ‘red line’ American flag honoring the squad’s six brothers killed on 9/11 – after a neighborhood resident complained it was ‘fascist’ and a local lefty pol questioned whether it was a ‘politically charged symbol.’”

Let’s get this straight now. Here is a fire company in New York City that suffered the horrible loss of six of its members as a result of responding to the 9/11 attacks and decided to honor these heroes by a very small gesture of making the blue bar on their Thin Blue Line American flag become a red bar as a symbol of mourning. That simple and beautiful act speaks volumes of respect, dignity, and honor to those who literally gave their lives to save others.

But hold on now, there is a problem here. This honorable flag offends one woman as she sees it as a symbol of Nazi Germany, and a low-level government official who needs his fifteen seconds of fame views it as a political symbol. Really? In the real world that the rest of us live in, we recognize that these firefighters are standing by every single day to respond to an emergency, and that flag is a reminder that it may even cost them their lives in doing it. These two traumatized social warriors and others just like them need to grow up, sit down, and get over it!

Truth be told unless we stand strong in the midst of this childish mentality of Veruca Salts everywhere we turn, our society is genuinely doomed. This is why I believe we should celebrate and show honor on our holidays highlighting our nation’s freedom and sacrifice, such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, and 9/11 Patriot Day. This only happens if we take the time to know why these are important and how they impact our country. We owe a tremendous debt to those in the past who secured our nation.

An opportunity in this regard is coming up soon. As president of the Montgomery Area Historical Society board, I want to offer the general public a bus trip to the Flight 93 Memorial National Memorial outside Shanksville, PA, on Saturday, June 14th. This site is very special as it represents the only symbol of resistance against the 9/11 terrorists. Those passengers were real heroes who defied the terrorists at the cost of their lives and thwarted the attack that was believed to be plotted for the US Capitol or the White House.

The bus will depart from the US Post Office in Montgomery at 7:30 a.m. with an estimated return time of 7:00 p.m. The cost is $75/person, including a tour guide, a light luncheon, and gratuities. Payment may be sent to the Montgomery Area Historical Society, 3 W. Houston Avenue, Montgomery, PA 17752. The deadline is on Wednesday, May 22nd.

My lovely wife Debbie and I will also be on this journey on June 14th. I have talked to several folks who have been to this memorial site, and everyone has shared that it is well worth the trip. So, as Todd Beamer’s last words were heard that day on Flight 93,” Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”