From the unaccompanied illegal immigrant children pouring across the southern border to the worsening situation in Iraq to senseless acts of violence committed in many American cities, it’s difficult to find much to lighten our mood.
Even the latest Gallup poll, released just in time for Independence Day, revealed Americans have become significantly “less satisfied with the freedom to choose what they want to do with their lives.”
“Seventy-nine percent of U.S. residents are satisfied with their level of freedom, down from 91 percent in 2006,” according to the Gallup survey. That 12-point drop bumped the USA from among the highest in the world in terms of perceived freedom all the way down to 36th place.
Then, out of the (red, white and) blue, we learned from our Chamber of Commerce that a special presentation was being held Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Stadium at A.C. Jones High School. The event featured a ceremonial flag flown in Afghanistan on the most recent combat tour at the request of Beeville hometown hero Sgt. First Class Mark Canales of the U.S. Army.
“This was important for me to take a moment when I was down range in a deployed environment and recognize the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce,” Canales said, adding that he never forgot his roots.
“Beeville will always be home to me, and the Chamber of Commerce, in my opinion, has helped Beeville flourish.”
Canales pointed out that after the federal government’s decision to close NAS Chase Field, the Chamber’s efforts helped this community recover, thanks to “their hard work and dedication.”
In appreciation for Canales’ actions, the sergeant first class, who has served four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan (the last ending in January), received two recognitions. The mayor proclaimed Wednesday as Mark Canales Day and the former cross country star was inducted honorarily into the Beeville Sports Hall of Fame.
Canales added that he had no regrets joining the Army; it helped him stay on the right path and overcome obstacles (including the tragic murder of a dear friend). He said he wants to be a role model for his children and set an example in which they can take pride.
Wow. It’s stories like these that remind us there still is hope that America will remain the land of the free and home of the brave.