Happy 4th of July!!! A Patriotic Around the Horn

July 03, 2011 | Paul Hoke

I love this country.  Always have.  Always will.  Are we perfect?  Of course not.  There are a lot of things in this country that we get wrong everyday.  But that’s what happens when you’re run by humans.  Humans aren’t perfect.  They aren’t without fail, and they aren’t mechanical devices.  But from where I sit, for all our faults, we live in the greatest country this World has ever seen.  Where else, can a dumb cop from East Baltimore, sit in his dining room, and pontificate on whatever he chooses, thanks to WNST of course.  No matter what I say here, no matter who likes it, or who doesn’t like it, the First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees me, and everyone else, a forum to voice our opinion.  Like it or not.  And while 10 years ago, certain persons tried to silence my First Amendment rights, and those that know me, know of which I speak of, the bottom line is, I’m still here, and still have things to say.  And as we celebrate this Country’s Independence, this Fourth of July, 2011, the American patriot in me feel the need to give my thoughts on a few topics.

—  As stated before, I love this country.  “The Flag, Apple Pie, and the Fourth of July”, as it’s stated, is a mantra I hold very dear to me.  And in this country we have finally, and it really started with 1991’s Gulf War, started honoring the men and women who everyday wear this nation’s uniform.  Whether it be the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, or Air National Guard, those that wear the colors of this nation day in and day out, deserve a special standing from us humble citizens.  My brother served in the US Navy.  My dad, as I have said before, served in the US Army during the Vietnam War, and later, the Coast Guard.  My father’s parents served, and met, in the US Navy during World War II.  My great-great-great-grand Uncle was a Brigadier General under General Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War.  On my wife’s side, my brother in law served 6 months in Afghanistan as a member of the US Army’s 101st Airbourne.  My father in law is a proud “Vietnam-era” veteran who served his country in the US Army, in the early 1960’s before hostilities increased in that area.  My mother in law hails from England, and a number of her family served in the Royal Armed Forces.  As I have always said, my family has a proud tradition of service to this country.  My brother is a firefighter in Georgia.  My dad, after his service in the US Army, served as a Police Officer for almost 25 years.  Me….I was slated for service in the United States Air Force, but decided instead to pursue a career in law enforcement.  And after almost 16 years, I haven’t looked back.  To say that my family has served honorably would be an understatement.  I am humbled by the service of my family members, and it is because of them, that no matter what theater our fine, brave men and women find themselves in, I will always…ALWAYS…support our military, and always give them, a loud round of well deserved applause….

—  It has become a practice, for the MLB, to observe Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, by having their players don special hats marked with the red, white, and blue to honor America and her heroes.  Some like it, some don’t.  My position is, it’s nice to see Major League Baseball honor the country by wearing the colors of the flag for at least two days throughout the season.  They aren’t always the prettiest designs, but it’s nice to see athletes wear the same colors as this nation’s true heroes, if for at least one day.

—  This Friday, WNST’s Glenn Clark took on a Chicken Mini Challenge to raise money for Baltimore’s Helping up Mission.  His goal….to eat 40 of Chik-Fil-A’s chicken minis with fellow WNST listeners and contributors giving an amount of money based either on the amount of minis that Glenn ate, or whatever they could give.  A noble gesture for sure, but for me, it was more then that.  Glenn sacrificed his own person health and well being by shoving as many of these delicious treats down his stomach as he could for the betterment of his fellow man.  If that’s not a true American gesture, then I don’t know what is.  I know that Glenn intends to make this a WNST tradition, and I absolutely applaud it.  In fact, I will go on record now as saying, as a WNST listener, blogger, and contributor, that the next food challenge Glenn attempts, I would like to participate as well.  I will be going up against Glenn, or course, but also, I will attempt to raise more money for their cause by participating in any subsequent challenge.  Glenn, I honor you, but I also challenge you.  Let’s see who can eat more, and in the end, raise more money.

As most of you already know, this blog as not about sports in general, but more about celebrating what the Fourth of July means to us and the freedoms that we all enjoy because we are Americans, and the debt we owe to those who have given their lives to fighting to defend our freedoms.  The one thing that I think needs to always be remembered among Americans is that 10 years ago, these freedoms and our way of life were challenged by terrorists.  In the face of terror, and threats to the “American Way”, President George W. Bush stood toe to toe with these maniacs.  And in May of 2011, President Barack Obama finished the job by ordering the assault that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden.  Let us not forget, on this Fourth of July weekend, exactly what freedom means to us.

May God bless you, and may God continue to bless…the United States of America.  May you all have a safe, and Happy Fourth of July!!!