Celebrating 238 years

Come Friday, those of us lucky enough to live in the United States will mark 238 years since July 4, 1776.

Come Friday, those of us lucky enough to live in the United States will mark 238 years since July 4, 1776. That sounds like a long time but in the grand scheme of world history, it’s a short time. True democracy and freedom are relatively new things.

This was brought home to me last Sunday when we were in church. Our pastor gave a sermon on the tremendous freedoms we enjoy in the United States, but he also reminded us that with our freedoms come responsibility and the idea that we all have someone we have to obey. Everything has a price. Nothing is free.

When you look around the world you can see what he’s talking about. In many countries there are basically no freedoms at all. The citizens are told what to believe and when to believe it. That covers pretty much everything in their lives. Religion, politics and family relationships are the first things that come to my mind but there are others. Things like how to dress and what social activities you are allowed to attend are also a part of their existence.

Here, things are very different. We can do just about anything we want so long as we’re not hurting anyone else or infringing on their freedoms. Sure, we all must obey the law and we all have a boss of some sort or another. But that pales in comparison to how most of the rest of the world lives.

It’s amazing, this life we live.

We need to celebrate that fact more than we do. I fly a flag on my boat every single time it’s on the water. I do it because I believe in this country and what it stands for.

Do I believe in everything that’s going on in our country right this minute? Of course I don’t. There are several social, political and financial issues that trouble me. I also know, however, that as deeply as I might disagree with other people, their freedom is my freedom.

I think we should all put an American flag on every vehicle we own or operate. I’m talking about everything from farm tractors to bass boats as well as every vehicle in between. And I think we (professional anglers) should have an American flag somewhere on our boats or on our jerseys.

If I’m not mistaken, the NFL requires them on all players’ helmets. I know for sure that our flag is displayed on hundreds of college, high school and little league uniforms around the country. Why should professional anglers do anything different?

All of what I’ve said today reflects my thoughts about America. This is one heck of a country. While we’re eating hotdogs and watching fireworks, we need to reflect on all of this and, for sure, take a minute or two to say thanks to those who’ve made it possible.

One final thought: I hope our soccer team wins this afternoon and I hope all of you root for them. I played soccer in Florida — I was a goalie — from when I was a little kid all the way through high school. It’s a heck of a sport. More importantly, our team represents our country. That’s reason enough to root for them. 

Chris Lane’s column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook or visit his website, www.chrislanefishing.com.