Sampson Independent

Showing gratitude through our actions

What do Good Samaritans and Independence Day have in common? Celebrating the freedom to help people and national freedom that came by Good Samaritans standing up for rights and reaching out to make freedom a way of life!

Writing about Good Samaritan Americans stirred during the week in our nation when flags fly, pools pack, picnics peak, fireworks flare, national pride rises, and parades showcase the land of the brave and the free. Independence Day celebrations provide endless opportunities for Good Samaritans to surface doing good deeds from sea to shining sea.

So, did a Good Samaritan find you stranded in a ditch (as one did in the Bible) or in any other situation where help was needed during your 4th of July celebrations? A memorable 2002 Independence Day when Tim and I excitedly took our little boat in the rushes of Topsail Sound comes to mind. We accidentally stranded our boat named,“Took A While” and ourselves on a sand bar at low tide in the backside of an inlet where no one could see us or hear our pleas for help. It took four hours before we were rescued by our friend Bobby and a man with a shallow boat who felt sorry for ‘begging Bobby’ and agreed to search for Bobby’s neighbors in our time of need. Tim remained calm while I tried every trick in the book to get people’s attention…to no avail! When Bobby and newfound friend pulled us from the depth of despair in our watery ditch, we gave thanks for Good Samaritans God sent to help us that hot summer day.

Celebrating Independence Day in America, where freedoms are often taken for granted, is a blessing we should cherish and protect. Americans who served under George Washington’s leadership and watched him kneel to pray witnessed the integrity of our first Commander in Chief who made a habit of helping his fellow man. President Washington penned words in the 1700’s that still ring true today.

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

Those words challenge each person living in the land of the brave and the free to reach out a helping hand — to people in need and people who serve and served to protect our freedom and make our nation a better place — because if we care …We Can!

George Washington’s call for courageous Americans to willingly serve and appreciative Americans to willingly show respect and share acts of kindness should be heeded. Good Samaritans can help unite a divided nation and show that kindness counts! Disrespectful, despicable national issues and ways of living could destroy the freedoms Veterans have defended for over twenty decades. Treating others as we want to be treated is a Good Samaritan way of living that brings people together…never apart!

President John Kennedy shared insight on honoring, helping, and heralding those who give by showing gratitude by the way we live.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to Live By Them.”

Wonder what words George Washington and John Kennedy would share if they could see and hear the hurtful, heartbreaking, hateful, horrific, things people do and say to one another in our nation today? Would the Good Samaritan give help to a man in a ditch today who might turn on him, stab him in the back, steal his credit cards and car, and leave him in the ditch before going his merry way?

Wonder what would happen if people all over America showed kindness and vowed to live and love by the example of the Good Samaritan each and every day?

Richard Gilder’s words stir my heart with the perfect ending for a story about Good Samaritans who give ultimate sacrifices to defend our freedom and ordinary people who do kind deeds daily that make our nation a better place to live.

“Better than honor and glory, and History’s iron pen, is the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow men”!

May our Independence celebrations continue with reflection on words from Washington, Kennedy, Gilder, and God! Show appreciation to people who defend our country and honor to those who gave their lives in service to America. Do more than talk – walk the walk and live by your words. Do your duty and love your fellow men. Love God with all that you are and love your neighbor (next door or those in other lands who look and live differently than we do in our hometown) as yourself! Do to others as you would want them to do to you.

May we unite in love, stand firm in faith, prepare for eternity, and enjoy writing the rest of our love stories! Let’s take the challenge to reach out and take somebody’s hand and make America a better place…because with God who strengthens us – We Can!

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By Becky Spell Vann

Contributing columnist

Becky Spell Vann is the owner/operator of Tim’s Gift Love Ministry.