Stand up for what you are proud of | Clarksburg Bridgeport News

This weekend and especially today – as we celebrate with family and friends, enjoy hot dogs and fireworks – let’s not forget to take a break to remember all the blood, the sweat and tears that have carried this great nation to this point.

And, yes, I believe we are a great nation. Certainly not perfect. Certainly not to grow and improve, but great in many ways.

I don’t know when the fires of patriotism were kindled in my heart, but I know growing up that my grandfather always spoke reverently about his love for the homeland, just like the others around me.

And my history teachers fueled my passion for history, to understand how this country was born.

Events throughout life, but especially September 11, added to my love for this country, and I am eternally grateful for the sacrifices made by these men and women who stood up for freedom, here and at foreign.

I recently had the chance to speak to a veteran who spends a great deal of his time ensuring that the sacrifices of his military brothers and sisters are not forgotten.

The passion in his voice, the care he took to chronicle their efforts, reminded me of the importance of making sure I never forget those who serve and those who gave their all.

I thank Dannie Gum of Weston American Legion Post 4 for sharing with me some of the history of this county’s veterans, as well as the efforts to preserve their memories.

So forgive me for my tears when I hear songs like “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood or “Let Freedom Ring” by the Gaither Brothers and the incomparable David Phelps.

And i’m proud to be american

Where at least I know I’m free

And I won’t forget the men who died

Who gave me this right

And I would gladly get up

Close to you and defend her even today

Because there is no doubt that I love this land

The song “Let Freedom Ring” takes freedom to a spiritual level, with the magical lyrics of Bill and Gloria Gaither performed so well by the Gaither Vocal Band:

God built freedom in every fiber of creation

And he wanted us all to be free and whole

When my Lord bought freedom with the blood of his redemption

His cross engraved forgiveness in my very soul

And the catchy conclusion:

Let freedom ring through the ages from a hill called Calvary

Let freedom ring wherever hearts know pain

Let freedom echo in the lonely streets where prisons have no keys

You can be free and you can sing, let freedom ring

Let freedom resonate in the lonely streets where prisons have no keys

You can be free and you can sing, let freedom ring

You can be free and you can sing, let freedom ring, let freedom ring

So today as we celebrate, I know my thoughts will be with those who have served – from former relatives and friends to those I have come to know later in life.

And while some people may choose not to defend the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem, I will always do so for as long as I can.

That’s another thing that’s great about this country: the freedom of choice. Try this in China, Iran, or North Korea.

Last week we lost a true Clarksburg icon to radio host Mike King, who has worked in the field for over 50 years.

I was fortunate enough to meet Mike during my high school years and even more so when he hired me as a weekend disc jockey at WPDX.

He later took his chance and put me on the midnight slot, allowing me to “bite my teeth” on the radio under his watchful eye.

And believe me, despite working from midnight to 6 a.m., I would hear from him if I strayed from the regular programming.

I still remember his calls at 2, 3 or 4 in the morning asking me why I was playing Hank, Willie or one of the other country music “outlaws” when I had to play one of the 10 Top 10 hits.

My answer was always the same: a caller had asked for it.

I feel like he knew that was probably only true half the time. But he never screamed or got angry. He just encouraged me.

We worked together on a few high school football games, doing play-by-play for him and me providing full color commentary.

I loved radio, but the future had other things in store for me. But I loved the time spent working with Mike and the friendship that has continued for years.

There’s no question God has one of the great radio voices up there running a talk show right now. Be easy, my friend.

About John Crowder

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