Archive for Thursday, July 3, 2003

Honor patriotism and citizenship this Fourth of July

July 3, 2003

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate patriotism. The word evokes images of men in tri-corner hats and kneebreeches fighting the British with long rifles. We honor their courage in overcoming the odds and winning our freedom, and those soldiers who followed their example in such places as Gettysburg, BelleauWood and Normandy.

But equally important in safeguarding our freedom is citizenship. That consists of the less-dramatic but nonetheless vital democratic duties of all to stay informed, vote, pay taxes and accept jury duty. But in our federal system, the national government doesn't have a monopoly on demands for citizenship. There are avenues for involvement on all levels.

De Soto is blessed with good citizens. One of those citizens will help De Soto celebrate the Fourth. Joe Bisogno and the Mr. Goodcents company he owns donated $5,000 to the community's annual fireworks display with the challenge it be matched. It was the latest example of community involvement from a man who came to town promising to be a good corporate citizen.

Further evidence of citizenship is the new benches downtown. They are the result of Bob and Pat Atchison's initiative and the response it garnered from fellow business owners.

The benches are a little gesture, but it delivers a message that De Soto cares about its business district and welcomes those who visit it. It harkens back to the days of open congeniality when benches were the staple of many downtown storefronts.

Citizenship is the efforts of the De Soto Youth Baseball Association, from the leadership to the coaches, who have built a strong enough organization that it can serve as host to state tournaments. The volunteer efforts donated materials that went into improving the ball fields and should pay dividends as fans spend dollars in the community.

There are countless other acts of generosity we've overlooked now and in the past. Our embarrassment is tempered by the knowledge that recognition wasn't the motivation behind the good deeds. Remember the patriots who helped found the country 227 years ago, but also honor the citizens who continue to make it work.

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