From the desk of the Director:
Growing up in a large family (8), and the youngest of 6, I spent the 4th of July holiday with cousins and siblings, camping on the coast or up against a fine Oregon river. When we couldn’t go camping, we spent the day at a local reservoir, swimming, diving and fighting over dusty black inner tubes. At the end of the day, we would come home, and prepare for the long traffic line into Autzen Stadium, where we found our friends under a sky of fireworks and most years, impending thunderstorms. We wore red, white and blue play clothes, because that is what we did, to honor this American tradition of celebrating our independence and the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
I will forever be grateful to those people who influenced my perspective on American freedom. My paternal grandparents owned and operated a family built sawmill in rural Arkansas where my father was raised. Following WWll, my father and his cousins relocated to Oregon, for bigger sawmills that would be responsible for the reconstruction of Europe. My father went on to serve in the military, enlisting in the Marines and joined the forces during the Korean War. He came back stronger, determined to make a better life for his children, by working long hours, coaching Little League, swimming with his kids at various rock quarries, rivers, lakes and attending to the annual garden, grapes and the micro orchard contained in the back yard.
Freedom is not an easy and complacent trail, but requires a steady gait to form impressionable footprints for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
May this Fourth of July season bring you a sense of freedom and a spring in your step.