Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This is the wagon wheel that carried my Great Grandma Letty's parents to Wyoming. The horseshoes were recovered by plow in the dirt of the family farm in Ft. Laramie. The dark flint stone is an ancient artifact from Native Americans who made tools out of it. The large white stone to the right is a piece of the Oregon Trail ruts from near Independence Rock, where my sister and I have traced America’s ancestor's names with our fingers. I look at this and I remember that I am the humble product of those who came before me. I am the echoing voice of women who rode ponies on this prairie before the doctor's and banks came.

When I smell rain on sage, and the hills rumble with thunder, my heart skips a beat with the lightening. Like the bolt of electricity that must reach, at once up to the heaven and down to the earth, I am grounded.

If I close my eyes I can smell the sweat and blood that built America. I stand in the ruts of the Oregon Trail, knee deep more than a century after the last wagon passed, and I know that we built this together.
Sink or swim, we are all in this together.  We are a nation of thundering hearts and echoing laughter. Like the rutted and bloodstained road that brought wheels like this to from sea to shining sea, our destiny connects us.
 Our shores, a continent apart, were once joined by that simple trail and divided by civil war. A century and more later, the war that divided us has faded, while the road that unites us has not. We have learned that we fall when divided.  We stand united.  We remember our legacy in live it by paying it forward.  Forward, as FDR urged us, “With strong and active faith.”

1 comment:

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Beautifully written. I thank you for your inspiration.