Hello and welcome back to the wonderful world of the Dogpound. Before I forget, Happy Fourth of July! Well, OK, maybe it is a...

Hello and welcome back to the wonderful world of the Dogpound. Before I forget, Happy Fourth of July! Well, OK, maybe it is a tad early – better than a tad late – but I really needed this as my lead-in for this week’s topic.

I have had the opportunity to attend several sporting events this year, most recently the Indianapolis 500 race, and I noticed something that I guess I was aware of but did not put it in perspective until recently. At the beginning of the race or any sports event, they ask everyone to stand and take their hats off as they play the national anthem. Now, for the most part everyone complies, but there are always a few that do not get the message. They are deaf or had a bad hair day, not sure which. Anyway, I noticed that many individuals do not place their hand over their heart anymore.

Maybe I am old school, but I always thought that along with the hat we showed our respect by also placing our hand over our heart. In my day, we said the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of every day at school [Is that now banned in schools?]; we stood, faced the flag, put our hand over our heart, and said the Pledge of Allegiance. I know some will say it is no big deal, that this does not mean we respect the flag any less. But you know, I am a firm believer that you do not lose your culture all at one time, you lose it one little piece at a time.

Looking back we have seen great empires come and go: the Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, the British Empire, and so on. They did not disappear in one single bang. Slowly but surely, they lost their way and disappeared into the history books or became a much smaller version of what they once were. We are in a country these days where prayer becomes an issue, saying Merry Christmas becomes an issue, where we preach and teach about our faults versus or positives, and so on and so on. This Fourth of July we celebrate our freedom, we celebrate all that is good about this great country of ours. Yes, we are not perfect, but God has blessed us so much that we are the greatest country on this planet; not bragging, but it is true. We give more; we share more; we bleed more; we dream more; and we inspire more than any other country on this big planet. If we are not careful, we will lose all of those blessings – one little drop at a time.

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” William J. Clinton

That is all I have for today. As always be good, do good, play safe, and remember the Fourth of July is much more than picnics and fireworks.