I was born & raised in NH. Yes I guess that makes me a darn Yankee. Lately on facebook, I have seen a bunch of debates about the Confederate flag and what that symbol means to different people. Ok, seeing as I went to school up North, I did not grow up learning a whole lot about that flag. History was my least favorite subject in high school.
But then I realized that some people’s flag was a little like NH’s slogan on our license plates “Live Free or Die” actually the whole saying is LIVE FREE OR DIE, FOR DEATH IS NOT THE WORST OF ALL EVILS. It came from a Revolutionary war General, John Stark. It was always just a normal part of NH history, that I never thought much about it. Never realized that people in other states would think it was strange, until my family drove cross-country in 1998 to move to Kingman, AZ. Then all of a sudden people stared and laughed at the license plate. I still can’t figure out why freedom was so strange to them. In NH, you have a plate on the front and the back of your car but about 7 months later when I got AZ plates, I only had to turn 1 plate over to the DMV so my oldest daughter hung the extra plate on her bedroom wall and she didn’t mind explaining it to all her friends that would come visit. In recent years, the motto has come into debate because some religious people don’t like the idea of doing anything that causes death even if that means they live as trapped slaves. So even though its rare and strange, you can find a car without the state motto on the license plate. Those plates say something positive like “Scenic NH”…because living free ain’t positive.
1 of my sons has a big tattoo on the lower part of his arm and the words “Live Free or Die” is on display for everyone to see. Believe me, he has no problem debating freedom or history or religion.
Tomorrow is the 4th of July, or Independence day. I have to work 11 hours in a gift shop at Mt Rushmore. Some could think of it as a patriotic honor to be here now. First off, this country’s freedom & independence had nothing to do with July 4th, well except that the writer of the Declaration of Independence died of the 4th of July. Actually Presidents John Adams & Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4th, 1826. But if they were sooo great for writing a “declaration for independence” for equality, then why did it take so damn long for blacks, native americans, or women to get any rights? They were living in this country at the time it was written. Obviously having everyone being totally equal was not what they had in mind.
It’s strange but the first day I walked out to see the faces on the mountain here, Jefferson’s eyes seem to be looking upwards. Like someone thinking or looking up towards the future. Not sure if that’s how the carvers wanted him to look but that was my impression. Also makes me wonder what Jefferson would think of how the future ended up being in this country. I will say that Jefferson will never be my favorite president but he does have the best eyes on the mountain.