Because of your smile you make life more beautiful. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
While dining at a restaurant near San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, this friendly gentleman (Pictured on the left in the photo) and his wife were seated at the table next to us.
Being naturally curious we ask, “Where are you from?”
Our Minnesota Nice reflex kicks in and we begin to chat, noticing their accents do not sound like your typical Canadian.
I can’t resist… “Have you always lived in Canada?” Thus, begins their interesting tale…
Following the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the family business was taken away by the Communists and father/son were both thrown in prison. His father spent seven years in prison… Wow.
Fortunately, his sister was able to flee in a boat eventually relocating in Canada. Years later, she sponsored him, his wife and two daughters creating an opportunity for a new life in Canada. At age forty they found themselves starting over in a new country learning to understand its culture and language. As a welder and chef, they work extremely hard to make the best of their new lives, allowing them to not only survive, but also thrive. Infectious smiles along with a “glass half full” outlook on life touched our hearts. At age seventy they are still employed and have no desire to retire as long as health allows.
Growing up watching the Vietnam War on the nightly news sparked a fascination with this country and its culture. Being curious and reaching out makes history come alive and I walk away truly inspired.
May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right ~Peter Marshall Gary, South Dakota is the kind of community Norman Rockwell may have used as inspiration for a painting with picturesque surroundings, historic buildings and friendly people. The small town swells with pride and people during its annual flag waving July 3rd and 4th Celebration.
Our local American Legion and Legion Auxiliary organizations are made up of proud, selfless individuals who support our community, especially the youth, through summer baseball/softball programs as well as a Junior Legion Auxiliary organization. You will find these people volunteering their time at community events, parades, Veteran funerals, playing taps, etc. Click on the link for a history of the Peden-Cole American Legion web page thanks to the American Legion Centennial Project.
Much controversy has revolved around a professional football player kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against people of color. This is his right… Maybe it was an efficient way to bring attention to his cause and he’ll go down in history books as some sort of hero. Or, maybe it backfired and came across as being selfish, bringing negative attention to his team. So much publicity involved not respecting the flag and the United States that it may have taken away from the actual purpose of his protest. Our country is all about standing up for what you believe in, but needs to be done in a way that conveys the actual point you wish to make. And above all, be kind.