Despite challenges, Americans relish Fourth of July|Area residents speak up about helping their country

Published 5:22 am Saturday, July 4, 2009

By Staff
Brandia Deatherage
Independence Day 2009 marched in like an injured, but not defeated, warrior.
As they cope with the worst recession since the Great Depression, many Americans need today’s patriotic celebrations.
This is their chance to show off America’s resilience and fortitude — and have a grand good time while they’re at it.
Though Washington’s Independence Day celebration has been scaled back, the slightly less pomp may allow room for more reflection.
It was 233 years ago that a ragtag army of determined colonists stuck it to the British Crown and demonstrated for all that America would never be subservient.
Moreover, America’s Declaration of Independence insists that its own government must secure the rights of the people, or else the people must take action.
And Americans can take action.
The 13 original colonies engendered a great nation that provides its citizens tools for enacting positive change: participation in government, voting, access to the media, representation in the court system, entrepreneurial freedom, volunteering and much more.
It is often said that sometimes the best way to help oneself is to start helping others. As President John F. Kennedy advised in his inauguration speech, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
So for the Fourth of July, the Washington Daily News set out in this spirit to discover what local people think they should do for their country. Their responses follow:
“To remember, appreciate and marvel at how in a country with no telephones, e-mail or airplanes, these great minds converged at one time and penned a document that is so amazingly brilliant that other countries still covet and aspire to obtain.”
Leslie Speros, Washington
“Show your appreciation, whether it be serving the military or keeping it clean.”
Zak Keech, 22, Washington
“Do everything possible to keep liberals out of office.”
Philip Cochran, 22, Washington
“I think you should look for opportunities to help others.”
Janice O’Kane, Washington
“Help support their community any way possible, like fire fight.”
Trey Evans, 17, Washington
“People should give more money.”
Louette Slade, 60, Bath
“Help more disabled people.”
Patricia Ann Gibbs Warren, 57, Washington
“Try to help out, like picking up trash and everything.”
Leslie Nava, 17, Washington
“They should get back to their core values, the values that our forefathers put in the constitution, and not just do this one day a year.”
Joe Coltrain, 59, Washington
“Do what you can to be a productive member of society and give back to the community, as you’re able, through volunteer work.”
Anne Heymann, 30, Durham