By Nancy Coombs
Living in the Mad River Valley has phenomenal benefits, year-round! We paid attention to the strict COVID-19 structure and have thankfully come out strong. We cannot ignore nor forget the horrendous death toll it took throughout the world and the United States as well as within our Vermont communities. When Tropical Storm Irene hit The Valley and surrounding towns in August, 2011, we all rallied to protect and rebuild the damages and hardships around town. It seems like yesterday we were covered in the dry, powdery mud, cleaning up along Bridge Street. Seeing the damage in Rochester soon after was a sad reminder how quickly things can change.
Now that The Valley has been slowly folding up the masks and not constantly dipping the gooey sanitizer all over ourselves, we welcome the protection of the vaccine that has hopefully saved many more lives. We have so much to be thankful for and knowing how this Valley can rally around one another, we need to continue in this direction. (While I do worry of our direction at times.)
When Memorial Day approached this past May 31, I had high hopes our community would continue to rally and remember the brave soldiers of past wars who fought and gave up their lives for the freedom to live our lives as we do. I kept looking for U.S. flags we used to proudly display along Route 100 but they never appeared in Waitsfield. They were displayed in many surrounding towns!
And recently, during the weekend of July 4, the U.S. flags were still non-existent, where we have been having parades of visitors driving through and around The Valley. We see other flags (i.e. BLM) at private homes, which they have the right to do, but also in front of public buildings. Where are the U.S. flags that must be flown foremost?
Most days, year-round, an American flag flies in front of my house. Each day as it is anchored, I am reminded of my father and father-in-law, (WWII), my aunt and uncle (WWII, Korean War and POW, 1942-1945), friends/heroes of the Vietnam War and Global War on Terror. We remember these people because they fought to preserve our freedoms.
On the Fourth of July we remember the people who fought the tyranny of England. They put their fortunes and their lives on the line once they published the Declaration of Independence. Be proud of how far we have come and (teach!) pay attention to the history of our country to celebrate the men and women who gave you this precious gift of freedom.
Coombs lives in Waitsfield.