Our Glorious Independence Day: "Every Man Jack of Us a Free and Independent Citizen of God’s Country"
When I was a little girl, my mother told me, "Lenora, always be grateful you're an American. There's no greater blessing."
Mom was right and no one expressed this more beautifully than pioneer Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little Town on the Prairie when she described DeSmet's 1882 Independence Day Celebration:
The year: 1881.
The month: May.
The place: DeSmet, SD.
That was the year of endless blizzards. The year the people of DeSmet nearly starved and froze to death. The year that train after train tried to reach DeSmet with desperately needed supplies, only to stall in snowdrifts so high and so hard that no amount of steam power could blast a path to the tiny town.
And so it was that all those supplies stayed neatly frozen in the stalled trains until the snow finally melted in May.
Sure, the people of DeSmet could've raised their fists to Heaven and railed against God but they didn't. In May of 1881, as they sat down to the first proper meal they'd enjoyed since Autumn (complete with butter!!!), on their lips was only gratitude. Pa Ingalls expressed it best when he said simply, “Lord, we thank Thee for all Thy bounty.” Laura observes, "That was all Pa said, but it seemed to say everything."
This year we too say from our hearts, “Lord, we thank Thee for all Thy bounty.”
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