Before I walk out the door for a long Independence Day “weekend” let me share some thoughts with you. Actually, I have shared these same thoughts for the 4th of July holiday for the past several years. So, forgive me for the “re-runs”, but holidays come around on an annual basis; they are meant to be annual commemorations of special days, special events, and I believe it is good to be reminded of that each year.
We are truly blessed to be free and live in the greatest country on earth. While you contemplate that, think about what it means for hunters, anglers and trappers. Back in the “Old World”, back where our forefathers came from, fish & wildlife resources did NOT belong to the people. Back in the “Old World” fish and wildlife and the privilege of pursuing those fish and wildlife belonged to the few aristocrats that owned the land, fish and wildlife. Common folks like most of us were considered poachers if they snuck onto the king’s land and shot a grouse or two or caught a trout.
As you know, our forefathers came to the “New World” and established an entirely new system; a system of freedom and democracy, a system of land ownership for the many instead of the few, and also a system where the fish and wildlife and other natural resources belonged to THE PEOPLE. As you recall those first 3 words of our United States Constitution, “We the people. . . ” consider that WE, you and me, are “the people” and our fish & wildlife resources belong to us! That has resulted in the greatest fish & wildlife management system that the world has ever known, http://www.prairiefirenewspaper.com/2010/07/the-north-american-model-of-conservation , http://www.prairiefirenewspaper.com/2010/08/the-north-american-model-of-conservation , and it has also resulted in the hunting, fishing, and trapping opportunities, and traditions that so many of us are able to enjoy, that are part of who we are, of who I am.
John Adams said this about our Independence Day and how it should be commemorated:
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784,Harvard University Press, 1975, 142
“. . . Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations. . . “, ole John nailed it, and I plan to follow his instructions exactly.
Oh, and maybe dry off a fish or two while I am at it.
Have a great 4th of July holiday, make sure to keep all of your fingers!