Earlier this week, a photo started circulating of an unknown man mowing the lawn of the Lincoln Memorial holding a South Carolina flag. He was later identified as Chris Cox a chainsaw sculptor from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.
Shortly after the photo of Mr. Cox mowing the memorial’s lawn was taken Capital police told him to leave – to which he complied. When asked by the Washington Post why he was doing it he replied, “The building behind me serves as a moral compass, not only for our country but for the world. And over my dead body are we going to find trash pouring out of these trash cans. At the end of the day, we are the stewards of these buildings that are memorials.”
I must admit when I first saw the photo of him mowing the lawn, tears welled up in my eyes. This man had gone beyond the bickering, beyond the politics and had taken it upon himself to honor the memorials to our great leaders in the one way he knew how – lawn maintenance. He wasn’t there for the attention, he wasn’t there to make a partisan statement – he simply wanted to do what he could as an American citizen.
Our country was founded by people like Chris Cox, people willing to give to their country without expecting anything in return. Yet somehow our country has gone from a nation of givers to a nation of takers and our current administration continually rewards the takers while punishing the givers.
At no time has this administration’s contempt for the givers been more evident than in the past 11 days. From barricading the WWII veterans from their own memorial, to denying death benefits to fallen soldier’s families, to forcing volunteers off the memorial’s lawns – this administration has gone out of its way to punish the givers in our nation.
The WWII veterans served our country valiantly and had every right to visit the privately funded memorial dedicated to them. The fallen soldiers from Afghanistan gave everything for our country and their families needed and deserved the money being denied them by the Obama administration. Also, the volunteers, like Chris Cox, who were willing to take care of our memorials without expecting anything in return should be allowed to serve their country in any way they know how because these memorials are not the governments to give and take away – they are owned by the American citizens.
Cox encouraged other Americans to “go to their [national] parks and show up with a trash bag and a rake” and I solemnly concur. Whether you show up to a national park with a rake and a trash bag, stand on an overpass holding signs, call a congressman, volunteer at a phone bank, or whatever you think you can do to help our country whether immediately or help our country get back on the right track – DO IT. These things may seem small but as Mother Teresa once said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies”.
Our strength as a country lies in the small things that we can do as individuals. We must gather together and fight for our country. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and hope for our country to get back on the right track – we must be the ones to help force our country back on the right track. As John F. Kennedy so famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”