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Seize the day, Old Settlers’ Day

Randy West, Editor

Now’s the time of year when people have started going places. In America, it’s almost an obsession. Individuals, families and tours hit the road or pack the airports for the annual vacation, and many church groups are going to foreign countries for mission work.
Everyone who leaves this country for a while gains a new perspective on the country or the culture they’re visiting plus the country they’ve just left. Often, those revelations are interesting or startling. Foreign countries don’t seem quite so “foreign” once you get to know the people who live there. Quite often, they’re just like us.
And America never seems quite the same when seen from distant shores.
But something else almost always happens when Americans come home from trips abroad: it feels good to be home, really good. That’s because America, despite all its shortcomings and failings, is a wonderful place to live. Our standard of living is embarrassingly good, compared to most other countries around the world. Our appreciation for freedom of speech and religion is intensified when you’ve been to places like China, Haiti or the Balkans. The civil rights we take for granted aren’t found in a lot of other places. Our peaceful change of governments simply doesn’t happen elsewhere. Some Americans have a love affair with guns, but we don’t rule each other with them.
We generally have an appreciation for our nation’s history, and we value what our brilliant Founding Fathers did in creating such an ingenious form of federal government, not to mention the sacrifices that the early settlers and pioneers made long ago in starting new lives here in this “untamed” land. And we’re finally learning to appreciate the sheer trauma inflicted on the minority groups that had tamed this land or were brought here against their will as slaves under the heel of people of European descent in the early years of our country.
Every Fourth of July, there’s a celebration in Corydon called Old Settlers’ Day. It’s usually blisteringly hot, but, nevertheless, thousands of people pack the town square and the streets around it for the parade and pioneer craft demonstrations. Despite the customary heat and humidity, a lot of people dress up in pioneer garb, which has to be some of the hottest clothes ever invented. Someone usually reads The Declaration of Independence and someone else sings “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Back Home Again in Indiana.”
Young adults who’ve moved away come home for the day, usually with little ones in hand. Colleagues have a rare opportunity to visit with others’ families in an informal setting. Older residents cherish the chance to mingle with friends.
Not everyone can or does take advantage of Old Settlers’ Day, but we hope you will make an effort to be a part of our unique Harrison County civilization at this enjoyable annual event. We live in a nice part of the world; it’s distinctly ours, something we can be proud of.
Every once in a while, we need to take the day off and forget about the rest of the world and simply enjoy being who we are, where we are, where we have come from, and where we might go … tomorrow. In Harrison County, that day is Old Settlers’ Day. Enjoy.