I kicked off the new year by listening to an audio book called, “The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper” by Phaedra Patrick. I thought Mr. Pepper might have some strange quirks about his personality that the author called curious charms. It didn’t take long for me to realize the charms were part of a bracelet Arthur finds when he cleans out his deceased wife’s closet. He takes on the challenge of tracking down the origin of each charm and learning about a part of his wife he had never known. The book is a beautiful story, sprinkled with humor, of grief, healing, and restoration. As I listened to the adventures of this widower while tracking down the origins of a tiger, an elephant, an artist’s palette, and other charms, I was reminded of my own charm bracelet. Actually, I have several, but my first charm bracelet came from my former mother-in-law, who is still a dear friend. Twenty years ago she read this column and it’s closing paragraph. That Christmas, I received a lovely gold charm bracelet with the first two charms attached.
SYMBOLS OF FREEDOM
As a Navy Brat, I’ve seen both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and most of the land between them. I’ve stopped in the middle of a summer softball game to stand, hand over heart, as the “Star Spangled Banner” played and the flag was lowered at the end of a day on a Naval reservation.
I whole heartedly believe that the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. I realize there are a multitude of problems in our nation. I’ve been known to grumble about a lot of them. But there still is no other place I would rather live.
When I was in high school, someone made a rude remark about my sister. I immediately defended her. The person said, “but you’ve said the same thing about her yourself!”
My brilliant response was, “Yeah, but she’s MY sister.”
That’s the way it is with family, and that’s the way it is with the U.S. We can fight and gripe, but an outsider better just keep his mouth shut.
“From sea to shining sea” are monuments symbolizing our nation’s ideology and the men who have led us in those ideas. From the Liberty Bell to the Washington Monument, we are reminded of our greatness.
Our country also has many symbols commemorating our freedom. As Americans, we may be selfish with our parking spaces, but when it comes to freedom, we want the whole world to have what we have. That is why we have monuments like the three soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima, the Vietnam Memorial and the Statue of Liberty.
The first two monuments recognize the lives that were lost in defending democracy – for ourselves and our neighbors.
The Statue of Liberty symbolizes our willingness to share our bounty with those who could not find it in their own homelands.
I have never seen the Statue of Liberty. But someday, I hope to stand at her base and read the inscription – “Give me your tired, your poor …” I don’t remember the rest of how it goes, but it reminds me of another symbol of freedom – the cross.
While Jesus was still on this earth He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28, KJV).
Then He died for our freedom.
Each little trinket on a bracelet represents something of importance to the one who wears it. If I had a charm bracelet, the first two symbols I’d hang on it would be miniatures of the Statue of Liberty and of the cross.