I love the 4th of July. I like sharing the day with friends and taking my granddaughter to the cemetery to place flags on the graves of veterans. Most importantly I enjoy reflecting on what it took to build our great nation.
Every once in a while a specific program or speech seems to capture the essence of the moment. I have come across a speech from a radio program that encapsulates the magic of our nation’s birthday, the 4th of July. I hope you enjoy.

“At this time in our history when we view other nations in distress and oppression of dictatorship, the threatening clouds of war, and men lined up by the thousands to destroy with cannon, airships, and destructive machinery of every kind, not only property and lives but the fundamentals upon which True Americanism was founded, how fitting it is that we should pause from our daily pursuits to defend Americanism, to remind our neighbors, our friends and our people of their duty to protect the principles upon which real Americanism rests, with the American Flag flying over your head.

When Washington, Morris and Carol, all of different faiths and creeds, signed the immortal, everlasting document which became the tenants and creed of Americanism, they, with inspired hearts and minds, planted as the most beautiful flowers in the garden of Independence, tolerance, justice, freedom, liberty and patriotism.

So let us ,on this occasion, bind ourselves as Americans to keep alive, watching out for hidden adversaries and enemies, these elements which will forever inspire peace, happiness and tranquility to the American people and their future generations as intended by our forefathers when they founded this great republic.

Isms, false doctrines, and race or religious prejudices have no place in this country. All alike the Jews, the Gentile, the descendants of those from every land, who live in obedience to our laws, have equal rights and privileges. Let every man and good woman teach this ideal, love, tolerance and fairness to one another, practice these ideals, love, tolerance and fairness to one another, practice these ideals, love tolerance and fairness in their relationship with one another and to one another in all instances, and Americanism will live on.

In these tragic days when man’s inhumanity makes countless millions mourn, when racial and religious groups are oppressed elsewhere, persecuted by the ruthless, damnable and barbarian practices of dictatorship, when the cherished ideals of democracy are being trampled upon, there is no greater moment of importance in America than to let every man, woman and child stand as a sentinel watching for an enemy, standing as a soldier to guard the immortal principles that we have inherited, and to remember there is but one way to happiness. Love and peace can always be maintained, and that is by upholding, protecting and maintaining democracy, religious freedom and tolerance, which all summed up together are Americanism.
To his great common altar of Americanism there comes daily into this country the Jew, the Protestant and the Catholic with the best traditions of each, coming to pray that their traditional rights may always be preserved, and that the sacred altar of Americanism be preserved, and that the sacred altar of Americanism be preserved by an edict and the sanction of Almighty God will not be blemished by the polluted and bandit hand of dictatorship or false propaganda spread among our people through those who would take from us the heritage of the past and leave us with a false and cruel idol to steer us to anarchy and chaos in the future.
And why should not the Jew and the Protestant and the Catholic, together with the other various sects, come to this common altar in the great country of ours.

First and foremost it is fundamentally right. Second, we are a people who came from lands across the waters where oppression dominated at the time they came over. Third, and most important of all, highest and greatest of all the reasons we could set forth, do we not have the challenge of the old Bible. Is it not true that after all is done and said that we have but one Father? Were we not created, after all is done and said, by one and the same God?
Civil and religious liberty with the rights and privileges given us under what is known in America as The Bill of Rights, a national jewel, adopted by all of the states of these United Commonwealths, stands as a gift not only from our forefathers, but from Almighty God, as they in turn were inspired by their Creator when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States, which guarantee freedom of thought, freedom of press, freedom of religion, and personal liberty as long as it does not interfere with the rights of others, is not abused, and the laws of the country are obeyed and not entrenched upon.
To me it is necessary that the best of our people, old and young, should not forget the altar of Americanism, for when the day comes that the altar is forgotten, then America will cease to be a land of freedom.

At this common altar of Americanism let us steer the youth and the children of this historic land in order that in the days to come, when we have passed away to an unknown and, there will still remain an army and host of true Americans, plighted and pledged to uphold the ideals, the noble sentiments, the achievements and the principles of real Americans.
I thank you.”

This speech rings true in so many ways and is appropriate at a time that we celebrate our Nations birth; however, the speech was not presented recently. Nor was it given within the last decade or for that matter within the last generation. As much as this reflects our country and the challenges we face today, the speech was given on radio station KWKH in Shreveport on March 1st, 1939.


Most of us would do anything for our children. When a child picks up arms and goes to war for his motherland but never returns, any parent would gladly to have taken his place. It is a built-in instinct to protect our off springs. The one aspect shared by all parents is that our children live in peace. Thomas Paine captured this thought in “Common Sense” as he called for war and thus have a free world for the children of the new nation. “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” – Thomas Paine
The Constitution guarantees that all men are created equal and each man has equal rights. The Constitution does not guarantee all men are to have the same material goods and services. The Constitution does guarantee that every man has the same rights to attempt to achieve success in life; but no guarantee of success. This is the way a democracy works and how a free market economy functions. Unfortunately we have had our stumbles and we as a country has not been perfect but we have come a long way on our journey as a young nation. Payne addressed the rights of man in his pamphlet, “Common Sense”. “Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another. It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.” – Thomas Paine
Education is paramount for the growth of any nation. It is through education that development is achieved. It is also through education that the government itself is questioned and thus through constructive dialogue change is achieved with the intent of bettering one’s government. Unfortunately we see in many of our institutions of higher learning a censorship of free thought. Speakers arrive only to be jeered and in some cases speakers are cancelled due to concerns of unrest on campus. In countries where a vast amount of education is regulated by the elite and by unions, free thinking is thwarted and productivity is stymied. Payne wrote about education and how education is desired in a free nation. “A nation under a well regulated government, should permit none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical government only that requires ignorance for its support.” – Thomas Paine
As we celebrate the birth of our nation my wish would be that all Americans take a step backward, take a deep breath, reflect on what we have accomplished as a nation and look to the future with a desire to work together as one country; one people. Happy 4th of July everyone and if you see a veteran, thank him or her for the sacrifices they made to keep our country free.


Most of us have some general understanding of our founding fathers, who they were and what their contributions were to the founding of our great nation. While names such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin are common, others are recognized but little is known of their contribution to defining a new nation and fueling the fire of tyranny.
Many of these men’s works and writings could be near-prophetic. This is found in their writings that powered a revolution and again when the nation was designed and then built. So much of what they put on paper is just as true today as it was in the late 1700s.
One man that is relatively wide known by name but not as widely understood or read was Thomas Payne. Unlike many of the American founding fathers, Payne was born in England and was in his late thirties when he migrated to the United States with the help of Benjamin Franklin. Once in America he fed the flame of revolution with his pamphlet titled “Common Sense”. All the founding fathers had read this document as had thousands of American colonists. John Adams said of the writing, “”Without the pen of the author of Common Sense, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain”. He continued to write in support of the American revolution which continued to add fuel to the fire and emboldened Americans to continue the fight against England. After the war he had a further calling and moved to France where he penned revolutionary documents targeting the ruling aristocracy. For this he was imprisoned in Paris.
In today’s world of vile, venomous and sceptic rhetoric; I question if the person spewing this garbage could eat from the same mouth that utters such verbiage. Perhaps is we look back on some of Payne’s workings we can find some way to understand what our country stands for and what it took to become such a great and noble nation. It would be a breath of fresh air if America would take time to reflect on one of his writings, “I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.” – Thomas Paine.
Though it has been over 200 years since Payne fed his writings to a hungry world; work ethic and the role of government providing support to citizens was with us even then. Payne wrote, “There are two distinct classes of men – those who pay taxes and those who receive and live upon taxes.” – Thomas Paine. Today America struggles with how much government is to provide to its’ citizens and then how the government entitlement programs will be funded.
Today we look for instant gratification. In many instances, if we can’t achieve something quickly and easily it is not worthwhile trying to accomplish the goal. It’s important to realize that many goals are extremely difficult and fortunately for many individuals difficult tasks become a badge of honor to attempt and accomplish. There is nothing easy about military boot camp but look at the way the young recruit carries himself and herself after completing basic training. Take a look at that young man or woman at graduation when they have struggled with life, classes and work to finally receive their diploma. Payne had a comment that encapsulated this work ethic, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” – Thomas Paine.
As we celebrate the birth of our nation my wish would be that all Americans take a step backward, take a deep breath, reflect on what we have accomplished as a nation and look to the future with a desire to work together as one country; one people. Happy 4th of July everyone and if you see a veteran, thank him or her for the sacrifices they made to keep our country free.

Behind every great man is a woman. This saying is so prophetic when we look at many of our leaders as well as that special individual in our community that does so much to provide community support.
Woodrow Wilson was the 28th president of the United States. His presidency ran from 1913 to 1921. During his time in office, Wilson lead America through World War I, passed progressive legislation and is considered by many historians to be one of the best presidents of the United States. Wilson was very open and provided his own State of the Union message to congress instead of the standard at the time to have someone else deliver it. His wife was an accomplished artist having won awards for her portraits. She gave up all art aspirations to support her husband when she married Wilson. Two years before Wilson’s second term ended, he suffered a severe stroke. In order to preserve his legacy, his wife, an aide and a physician hid his condition. People that had daily access to the president were not allowed to visit. Orders that were supposed to have come from the president were in fact originating from his wife. In effect, President Wilson’s wife took over the duties of the president of the United States of America for several months. Eventually he would recover to a degree that he could assume the daily activities of the president and due to his wife’s efforts his legacy was left intact.
William Jennings Bryant threw his support for Wilson and thus gave Wilson the nomination for his first term as president. Bryant also had a wife that provided great support behind the scenes. Following graduation from college, Bryant taught school and eventually married one of his students. Today he would possibly be put in jail but in that period it was not such a taboo. His wife was very intelligent and as a sign of loyalty to her husband she went to law school, received her law degree but never practiced law. She had received her degree to better support her husband. He was quite accomplished and was the youngest nominee for the President of the United States. He was a four-time nominee and would have been elected once had it not been for the active financial participation of the richest men in America to insure he did not become president and break up their monopolies. Bryant is most famous for attacking the right to teach evolution at the Scopes Monkey Trial. All this with the support of a loving husband.
These are but two examples of loyal wives working behind the scenes to encourage and support their husbands. Indeed, America is a much better place because of it. A prime example of this support, this loyalty, this love is no more apparent than what I witnessed for over 60 years.
Larce Holder was a scoutmaster in Farmerville for decades. He was one of the most influential men in my life and many a good citizen of our nation came up under his the scoutmaster of Troop 16. Military leaders, doctors, lawyers, engineers, hardworking citizens and a federal judge learned respect, integrity and leadership from Mr. Holder. Behind every good man is a good woman and Mr. Holder had his. Standing behind the scenes but always beside his side was his wife of 63 years, Miss Sadie. At every scout event she was there. When we visited his home, she would quietly be with us. When she addressed her husband it was Larce but when she referred to his name while talking to one of the scouts it was always Mr. Holder. Everyone knew Mr. Holder as a local artist and art teacher. Many of us took art from him but what was not fully realized was that Mrs. Holder was also an art teacher. I was astounded to find this out and did not realize that she taught at Cedar Creek Academy. Friends of mine were equally unknowing of her accomplishments. In the 1950s and 60s people would have a tendency to name their cars. Several of the scouts nicknamed Mr. Holders car, THASADIE, in honor of Mrs Holder. A great team these two made and together they entered the nursing home together and continued to be soul mates.
At the end of each scout meeting, the scouts would form a circle and one scout would lead the scout prayer that all would recite: “And now, may the great scout master, of all good scouts be with us until we meet again. And may we follow the trail that leads to him.” Last week Mrs Holder joined the Great Scout Master and left behind a loving and devoted husband of 63 years. She also left behind a group of loving and appreciative scouts that she meant so much to!


The United States, for that matter the world, places a high value on formal education. While education discloses an individual’s desire to learn and identifies a dedication to obtain a formal edification it is not a measure of intellect nor does it always guarantee a road to success. Many individuals that have a high desire to succeed, are self-taught and possess a keen sense of honor and integrity have become overwhelming successes in their endeavors. One of these individuals come to mind.
He had only six months of formal education and was raised on the fringe of the great American frontier. Home was rough, and dangers surrounded him yet he still managed to be elected to congress from his rural state. Some of his quotes shows his individualistic spirit and proved that there is more to a man’s fiber and intellect than education alone.
He had a sense of humor and wit as he described himself as, “fresh from the backwoods, half-horse, half-alligator, a little touched with the snapping turtle; can wade the Mississippi, leap the Ohio, ride upon a streak of lightning, and slip without a scratch down a honey locust [tree].”
Definitely not an illiterate country bumpkin, he spoke on what would become entitlement programs and the use of tax payer money and how it should be managed by the Federal Government. Speaking to Congress he stated, “We must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not attempt to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right as individuals to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money.”
The frontiersman turned federal congressman saw at an early time in America’s history what it took our country a hundred and fifty years to realize that “I want people to be able to get what they need to live: enough food, a place to live, and an education for their children. Government does not provide these as well as private charities and businesses.”
Sam Houston said “Do right and risk the consequences.” Our intellectual frontiersman turned politician made similar statements. “Be sure you are right, then go ahead,” he stated. In the same frame he stated, “My tongue speaks what my heart thinks” and thus displays the individualistic spirit that build America. Houston and the man who is a subject of his article had not met nor ever would meet; however, they would become synonymous when speaking of a major part of our early history.
While our man-from-the-south was elected to congress, he was quit outspoken about politics, his lack of respect for the Federal political system. This adversarial approach helped to fuel his defeat for his re-election bid. He vehemently fought against President Andrew Jackson and opposed much of his policies to include Jackson’s relocation of the American Indians. He spoke of his individualistic spirit in Congress by stating, “I would rather be beaten, and be a man, than to be elected and be a little puppy dog”. When speaking of President Jackson he stated, “It was expected of me that I was to bow to the name of Andrew Jackson… even at the expense of my conscience and judgement. such a thing was new to me, and a total stranger to my principles.” Now understanding his disdain ha comically spoke of politics in general; “There ain’t no ticks like poly-ticks. Bloodsuckers all”.
Our self-made man decided it was time to move on following his political defeat. He was quit outspoken about how he felt with the working of the political process when he spoke, “I also told them of the manner in which I had been knocked down and dragged out, and that I didn’t consider it a fair fight any how they could fix it. I put the ingredients in the cup pretty strong I tell you, and I concluded my speech by telling them that I was done with politics for the present, and they might all go to hell, and I would go to Texas”.
There was also a message of foretelling when we stated, “I know not whether, in the eyes of the world, a brilliant death is not preferred to an obscure life of rectitude. Most men are remembered as they died, and not as they lived. We gaze with admiration upon the glories of the setting sun, yet scarcely bestow a passing glance upon its noonday splendor.”
In January 1836 Davey Crocket crossed into Texas with 65 volunteers and signed an oath of allegiance to the Provisional Government of Texas. On March 6th Crocket was killed at the battle of the Alamo and thus his prophecy of being remembered for his death rather than his life came true.

There is much discussion going on at this time pertaining to the Second Amendment and the right to carry a weapon. This amendment has been in place since the ratification of the Constitution. Since the early days of our country debate has taken place pertaining to this amendment and this has then led to courts throughout our great nation attempting to interpret what our founding fathers actually meant when they inked the Constitution which contained the second amendment. Emotions take on a new fervor when tragedy occurs as we have recently witnessed.
What did the founding fathers have to say about the second amendment and the right to bear arms after they had drafted the Constitution?
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the first draft of the Constitution, “”No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
In 1787 Jefferson wrote to James Madison, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”
Today we hear something like this quote, “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” While we may associate this to today’s discussion on gun control, this was actually written by an 18th century criminologist and was then spoken by Jefferson. The debate about arming peaceful and law abiding citizens has been going on since the beginning of our nation.
Benjamin Franklin, inventor, statesman, signatory of the Constitution and scientist wrote, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
George Madison wrote, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country.” This is where the discussion of gun rights begins to open dialogue as to the intent of the second amendment. Is the second amendment a vehicle to insure that the citizens can own a firearm or is it the intent to insure that America can pull together an opposing force quickly and thus prevent oppression from another country. If the latter is the intent then what was referred to as the minuteman in 1776 is today the state National Guard. At the time of the Constitution writing, the colonies did not have their private militias nor their private store of weapons. It was the citizen militia that had to respond and bring their own weapons.
In 1788 Richard Henry Lee wrote, “A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms… “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” This reinforces the discussion that the purpose of the second amendment was to insure that we had an armed standing militia and free men were to provide their weapons.
There is also a part of this writing that screams the truth of what we need to address today in our country; “especially when young, how to use them”. This is the part of our right to bear arms that has undergone no discussion. When we and our forefathers grew up we knew how to handle a weapon. This was taught to us from very early years and it was our fathers and grandfathers that taught us. Today this is a dying tradition, pardon the pun. Adages such as treat every gun as if it was loaded, never point a gun at anyone and keep the weapon pointed down range are not part of the vernacular when discussing guns. Never, never, never should a person place a gun to a person’s head and pull the trigger thinking it is unloaded. Never should a real gun be treated as if it is a part of a video game and never should a person be allowed to purchase a gun until they can show they know how to use it.
Gun education is probably an answer to gun control. Since the family unit no longer provides the majority of gun education, a training program for our youth may be required to insure that they know how to operate the weapon and when to use it.
There is one discussion today that assault weapons should have an age limit of 21 years. Others say that if a person can go into the army at 18 and carry an assault weapon then they should be able to buy one over the counter. If anyone goes through U.S. Army weapons training then this statement is true; they are trained to handle this weapon better than anyone on earth; but until that level of training takes place we are placing a weapon intended to do nothing more than kill into the hands of a person trying to figure just what they want to do in life.
The debate on gun control has been going on for 200 years and undoubtedly will continue for another 200 years.


During the President’s State of the Union Address on February 2nd, the President stated that the MS13 violence is a prime example of why we need strong immigration laws and enforcement. He introduced the parents whose daughter had been murdered by the gang. Anyone with a trace of empathy had to feel the pain of the parents sitting in the great gallery of the American capital building.
Joey Reid of MSNBC commented on the Trump MS13 dialogue by minimizing his assertation of MS13 violence. She stated that if it were not for Fox News, no one would have even heard of MS13. This is not totally true as only a person living in a cocoon would have not heard of this evil gang. Several graphic and revealing documentaries have been produced that provide insight into this vicious gang. Reid’s attempt to politicize Trump’s comment and marginalize a dire threat to her audience did not go well. Her despicable comments were publicly condemned by the parents of the child that MS13 had murdered. Curiously, the Reid tirade had been posted on U-Tube. If an interested individual tries to view the comments the individual will receive notice that U-Tube no longer has the clip posted.
So what exactly is this MS13 gang and is it really a threat to America or just a talking point that is used to sensationalize the immigration issues raised by the current administration. Are any American citizens in jeopardy of physical danger from the gang known as MS13?
The MS 13 gang was founded in Los Angeles in the 1980s. It is made up of immigrants from San Salvador that came to America during the Central American Civil Wars. At the time the San Salvadorians came to Los Angeles, the predominant gangs in the city were composed of Mexicans and African Americans. In an effort to provide safety for San Salvadorians the MS13 gang was formed.
Many of the gang members have been deported. This led the deportees to recruit members in their homelands. One leader has been deported four times. The Los Angeles Times has been so bold as to surmise that due to deporting the gang members we are responsible for the expansion and influence of MS13. I’m not sure what the Times expects the government to do but it is imperative that we get these thugs our of our country.
In 2009 the MS13 gang numbered as many as 50,000 around the world. It was estimated that over 8,000 lived in America. In 2004 a task force was formed to confront the gang. This was a comprehensive force that consisted of the United States as well as El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. In 2005 the office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched an operation to clean up the scourge of the cities. By 2011 over 3,000 MS13 gang members had been arrested but the violence has continued. In the first three months of 2016, New York reported 17 deaths attributed to MS13.
Murder is not the only crimes that MS13 masterminds. Drug trafficking is a major money maker for the gang. Even more sickening is the use of children for prostitution. In 2011, eleven MS 13 members were convicted of child prostitution in Virginia and Maryland. Some of the young girls were as young as 14.
The American government has moved to a higher level of enforcement with the arrest of 214 gang members last November. They were charged with drug trafficking, child prostitution, human smuggling, racketing and conspiracy to commit murder.
The question now begs an answer, “Is MS13 a viable threat to Americans and America’s way of life?”. The answer is simple.
Another observation is that the city that founded MS13 and the state that has seen the biggest growth in the gang are now sanctuary cities and a sanctuary state. Los Angeles and California are both beautiful locals with rich culture and history and unfortunately, they have declared that they are turning their backs on many Federal laws that are intended to keep America safe.
One last observation is that it has been reported that MS13 has a major smuggling center in Mexico. There were also reports that MS13 sent agents across the American border to target U.S. Border agents.
America has declared that enough is enough and on July 28th, 2017, President Donald Trump declared that MS13 will be eradicated.