Saturday, September 3, 2011

Remembering Why We're Great!

     Everyone should know about this unassuming stone gate because it represents something remarkable, something never before seen in the history of mankind. Few people pass through this portal anymore because it is no longer the quickest way to enter Yellowstone National Park, but if you do, take a moment to look closely at the words engraved on it: For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People. Heralding trumpets should go off in your head when you read these words because this was the result of revolutionary thinking. I’ve been to Windsor, Versailles and Capri, playgrounds of the rich, powerful and famous, but never before had land been designated for the benefit of—everyone. This was an American idea. When this gate was constructed the sentiment expressed on it was unthinkable in most corners of the world.
     This is Labor Day Weekend and many people will be enjoying their last fling of summer. Many will travel to national parks. Think about it when you’re there: how is it that these parks came into being, and why do you feel so much better when you go there? Why isn’t there a Starbucks at the base of Yosemite Falls, a KFC at the overlook to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone? 
     Our country has so many problems right now, but it’s reassuring to remember that there was a time when our leaders could come together in moments of greatness. And they can do so again. I was thinking about this the last time I was in a national park. Check out Ken Burns’ series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and feel good again about being an American. 

1 comment:

  1. what an uplifting post! I didn't know about this gate and appreciate what you've written here. And with all the negativity (mine included) right now, it's good to see something positive about our country.