As we wind down our summer vacations and prepare to get back to work and school, we must refocus our energies. For the city, the month of July is the time when we take a break. However, on the 31st of July we will be meeting in preparation for the upcoming budget. Throughout the budget process, as much as possible, get first-hand information by attending the meeting.
Secondhand information is often biased and short on facts. We have been making great strides in our city. Because of the progress over the years to our infrastructure, our property values have increased again this year. Infrastructure is the backbone of any city, it powers our lives and it fuels our growth.
Thanks to our Commissioners, City Manager, and staff for their untiring efforts to make our city a pleasant place to live, work, and play. We also would like to thank our State Representative, Shevrin Jones, our State Senator, Oscar Braynon and the City’s lobbyist, Yolanda Cash Jackson for securing dollars to aid in our City’s infrastructure. I would like to encourage all our residents to read our City’s newspaper, check out our City’s website, attend one of the Homeowners Meeting or the commission meetings to stay informed about your city and its progress.
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! In the month of July, we also celebrate our Nation’s independence. This is a time to be thankful for the liberty we enjoy as Americans. Independence Day was made possible because the nation stood united against British forces. No one really knows why congress named the new nation the “United States of America” but it is a fitting name for a nation that works together for the good of all. In one of Aesop’s Greek fables there is this story: In the forest, there lived four oxen. They were very good friends and always went together to graze in the fields. However, every time they went, a hungry lion tried to attack them. The lion longed for their meat. But they withstood his attack by fighting him as a team. They attacked him with their horns and the lion fled to another forest. One day, the four oxen fought among themselves. They started going to the forest separately. When the lion returned, he saw that the group was divided. He planned to take advantage of this situation. Finding the first ox grazing in the fields alone, he crept from behind and ate him up. The next day, he attacked the second ox and killed it too. This way he killed the third and the fourth ox too. Had the four oxen stayed together, they wouldn’t have lost their lives. We were told how our early fathers, the freedom fighters stood united and faced the then mighty British Empire. It was our unity that brought us independence. The basic concept however is that unless people are united, it is easy to destroy them. The founders of our nation knew the great cost of freedom. Yet they willingly put themselves on the line for the idea of liberty that springs eternal in the human heart.
Signing the Declaration of Independence became a death warrant for those who affixed their signatures. Fifty-six men signed the Declaration. Of those fifty-six, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured by the British. Nine more died from wounds or other hardships caused by the war. Carter Braxton was a wealthy trader and planter from Virginia. Braxton saw his ships sunk by the British Navy. He sold his home to pay his debts and died in poverty. During the battle of Yorktown, British General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelson’s home for his headquarters. Nelson urged General George Washington to open fire on the Nelson home. Nelson’s home was destroyed, and he died in bankruptcy. John Hart was forced to flee from his home where his wife lay on her deathbed. His thirteen children were forced to flee as well. His property and his mill were destroyed. For over a year, Hart lived in the forest and in caves. When he was finally able to return home, he found his wife dead, and he never saw his children again. In a few short weeks, Hart, too, was dead from exhaustion. They knew the high cost of freedom. John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 1961 stated, “…my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. Finally, we must, as citizens of America and most importantly citizens of the world, live by the same high standards of strength and sacrifice.
There is an old adage which says, “United we stand, divided we fall.” This is a very well-known saying which is designed to stir people up to greater unity.” It means, it is better to stick together. We all know that unity is strength. Unity is of great value in every walk of life. One of Aesop’s fables tells the story of a farmer who had five sons. All the sons would quarrel among themselves. One day the farmer gave each of the sons a stick and asked them to break it. As a single stick all of them could break their stick easily. Then he put a bundle containing five sticks tied together and asked them to break it. Each of them tried but could not. The moral of the story is, when we are together, we have strength but when we are separated, it is very difficult to accomplish anything. When a group of people stay united on an idea or a course of action, then they have a better chance of success. If the group starts bickering among themselves and have different groups going in different directions, it’s a good possibility whatever issue they were trying to resolve will not be resolved to every one’s satisfaction. Think of a jury in a court case. If all twelve of the jurors can come to an agreement, then the case is decided. If some of the jurors don’t agree with the majority, and remain steadfast in their opinions, the case will have to be re-tried or thrown out. United, or together, they succeed, divided they fail to come to a verdict. With any group it is almost impossible to get everyone to agree on every point of concern however, if no consensus is reached nothing will be gained. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history being the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love and the City in which we live, asking God’s blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth we must make His work our own.
God bless America, God bless you all, and
God bless the City of West Park.