Show “Lady Liberty” Some Respect!

lady libertyHappy Hump Day, All!

I really like Wednesdays because it demarcates the middle of the week, a halfway mark to the weekend! Yet, this week in particular, we are on the eve of this nation’s Independence Day. Hip hip, hooray! At this moment, a lot of friends … and ideas come to mind. One person I thought of when I wrote the words “hip hip, hooray” was Bobby Hipp aka Robert Aurelius Hipp. We grew up together in the same building in the Projects in White Plains and our families were good friends for several reasons. One, my father liked working on cars and Bobby Hipp’s father was an expert at restoring classic vehicles! My mother was involved in the PTA and so was Mrs. Hipp! Both families had kids of similar ages as evidenced by the fact that me and Bobby both went off to St. Paul’s School, Concord, NH in the fall of 1969. He was always up beat and jovial, positive and unaffected … seemingly … by the cancer in his brain that ultimately claimed his life a few years after he graduated from the University of Wisconsin and worked as the youngest marketing manager at that time for General Foods, also located in White Plains. RIP, Dude!

The other person I thought of is my father – Isaac H. Cook (RIP) – whose birthday is also July 4th … somewhere around 1910, since few accurate records were kept then by his family and he grew up on a country farm in North Central Florida. He was always so strict, never graduated from high school, but pushed me, his youngest and second son, to pursue my education. We always celebrated the 4th of July as a family with a picnic to Bear Mountain State Park, and, occasionally, went to Rye Playland in Rye, NY to view the fireworks there at the amusement park called “Playland”. It was the “Coney Island”, if you will, of Westchester County, NY.

Some of you may remember my acknowledgement of the need to “Stop the Violence” as well as me and EE’s desire to spread the word to our youth … and adults in many circumstances. The Statue of Liberty, which was designed by a French sculptor – Bartholdi – and delivered in 1886 ten years after the centennial celebration of this nation’s independence, came across the Atlantic Ocean in 214 separate crates which held over 300 pieces to “assemble” the monument declaring France’s friendship for the USA during the Revolutionary War years. It seems that we have taken our “liberty” for granted sometimes …. I mean, sending letters to the POTUS filled with some chemical poison; shooting innocent people in movie theaters and schools; stalking and killing people of a different color/race and/or sexual persuasion; … even blowing up buildings and terrorizing events held dear to our Nation! Have we taken “Lady Liberty” for granted? Do we have time to turn this thing around? Well, it seems we have little interest in it sometimes … peace be still … and prefer a collision course with reality.

Yet, since we live in probably one of the greatest nations on the Earth today, which advocates, ” …. life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness …”, may we stop for a moment or two during our celebrations and remember the reasons why we have such “liberty” here in the “land of the free, home of the brave”. I know it’s not perfect here, but it is the land where I was born!

Happy Fourth of July, America!


John I. Cook, Director

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