A Home Town America 4th of July
Wyoming State Little Beauty
The Box R Boys
Foreman J.D. and Son Joshua invited me out to their historic Centennial Ranch.
Reflecting on the True Meaning
by Terry Allen
July 6, 2017
As I set out to write this story, I thought I'd focus on close calls with fireworks we've all had when we were kids.
But then I visited with Justin Sandner, owner of Pinedale Lumber, and Josh Criddle, manager of Black Mountain Rentals, and they shared stories that I quickly realized would help me present a deeper and more meaningful story.
Justin and his family were camping over at Palisades years ago with his family. They were sitting around the campfire when a charge from a roman candle dropped right in the middle of them and exploded turning his 7-year old daughter into a human torch by catching her hair and clothing on fire. After they put out the fires, Justin went looking for the culprits. Turned out the main one was a kid about age 10... and he had a real good father who more or less turned his son over to Justin for a serious sit down talking to in the camp trailer. Justin says he was pretty mad and the kid cried, but he walked away having learned a very valuable lesson.
The thing that stood out in Josh's mind about the 4th was about the men who signed our Declaration of Independence. So many people from so many different countries had come to America to get a chance to live free in a new land. 56 of these people had the courage to sign our Declaration of Independence, but about 22 of them paid dearly for having done so. They were all rich men and could have just kept their heads down and stayed safe, but they had higher goals.
I sat with Josh and his staff and we watched a video that told this sad but very honorable story. I'll include a few details here, but the video will be linked at the bottom.
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. They risked everything they had because they believed liberty was more important than security.
As I walked around American Legion Park and met people, I happened across Fidel Pozos and his family. He has worked all over the USA for the last 30 years and became a citizen last year. "I have been all over the USA and it is very rare to see a place like Pinedale," he said. "There is a good spirit in this town. To come to America and become citizens means Peace and Freedom to us."
I met The Log Cabin girls. This year they are from Serbia, Czech Republic, Romania and Oregon and they work at the Log Cabin Motel. The girl from the Czech Republic likes America because we have so many cultures. "In my country we don't have this," she said.
I met the girls from Jamaica (Shanielia and Racquel) and learned they too have an Independence Day but it is August 6th 1962, the date when they finally gained their freedom from the British. They insisted on a photo with them when they learned I was a fan of the famous Jamaican musician One String Brushy. I'll include a link.
Matt Burnette bought me a beer and I was making my way to take pictures of the band when Albert Sommers, our State Legislator said hello. I asked him what his thoughts were during this Independence Day holiday. If you know Albert, you know he doesn't always give you an answer to a question straight away. He often thinks on it some, so I went off to take some pictures. A little while later he said he had been thinking about one thing. "About 200 years ago everybody came together to form a country. Are we going to come together to maintain a country?" I place an extra value on people who take some time to think about a topic before answering. In my opinion we can use all the thoughtful people we can get, and this seems a good time to think about what Albert reflected on.
That night I went to get shots of the fireworks for this story. Our volunteer firemen and women had been planning and training for a successful show for a few weeks. About 15 minutes into the show something went horribly wrong and it was like several bombs went off at ground level. I know you all know some of those guys and I do too...so I have to say watching it hit me pretty hard. I heard a disembodied voice cussing and realized it was me. Apologies to anyone who might have heard me. I wasn't myself. I don't know anything about big fireworks, but I was sure a lot of people were hurt bad. But, no one was hurt, though some did suffer some bruising as a result of flying debris, and a truck suffered some minor damage. About 20 minutes later the show started up again and there were enough fireworks left for a little finale, too. I'll link to the official story below and you can read the words of Shad our Fire Chief.
After this experience, I'm thinking about American men and women working together to get a job done. I'm thinking about the early difficulties George Washington faced until he hit his stride and his army bounced back and they won the war. I guess this is just what Americans do.
Thank you so much to Justin and Josh at Pinedale Lumber and Black Mountain Rental for sponsoring this story and helping to give it some real meaning. There has been a major remodel going on out there at the lumber yard and a new product showroom is part of it.
Thank you to Dawn Ballou at Pinedale Online for encouraging me to write the stories and take the photos that have meaning to me and hopefully to my friends and neighbors in this community.
Our Sacred Honor link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX-APfe3i8Q
Brushy One String - Chicken in The Corn