Sunday, July 25, 2010

Apple Pie and 4th of July

Oh how I remember those July 4th celebrations of the 1930’s and 40’s! I played trumpet in the marching band. As we played and paraded through that little village, there were American flags hanging everywhere, front porches were decorated with red, white and blue bunting, farmers came to our little town to witness the parade and the mayor, school superintendent or some official spoke to the crowd who gathered in the square. Those were the days my friends. Patriotism was supreme. As a young boy I thought only of the wonderful country I lived in, that my God was God and he was big and strong and protector of our country, our little town.

World War II broke out – the patriotism became even stronger. We had scrap drives, war bond rallies, more parades and flag waving. We also had rationing – rationing of sugar, gasoline, tires even toilet paper! There were only a small number of young men recruited into the military from my small community. Some never came home. My older brother was one of those – shot down over the English Channel. I remember quite clearly the day the news was delivered to my mother. Under these circumstances, it was a bit hard to wave the flag and boast of patriotism. There was however for my mother tremendous support from everyone in our little town. Patriotism prevailed and as a young man I was unaware of any divisiveness in our community.

So here at Selah I wanted to have an old fashioned 4th of July. From its establishment in 1969, Selah was to bring people from the left and right of environmental issues together . . . Unlike those years when I was a boy it seems to me that, as a society, we have too many divisive things taking place. Could Selah, in some small way, help to reverse this trend? So please enjoy our July 4th, 2010 celebration at Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve.

The patio at Madrone Lake was decorated with flags, stars, and bunting wrapped around trees. Everyone was invited to speak. I started off with my “Declaration of Dependence.” I declared my dependence on Mother Nature and the Planet Earth. A planet in trouble with signs of danger all around and we don’t seem as a world society able or willing to do the things necessary to protect our planet and thus ourselves from what’s going on. Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

The spirit is in the air. Here Tom Kunz, our bat researcher from Boston University, takes the platform . . . The speakers are free to say anything they wish. Photograph taken by J. David.

John Phillips Sousa marching music reverberated across Madrone Lake and fifty people joined in to sing “God Bless America.” Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

This was a Pot Luck Day with the ranch providing 60 halves of bar-b-que chicken. There was plenty of everything for all. Followed by four big, red, sweet and cold watermelons. That’s really 4th of July! Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

Bob Cowell, retired Air Force and now working for the Postal Service, took the podium and quickly drew the attention of the crowd with a stirring patriotic speech. Bob is a leader in the Bexar Grotto, a volunteer caver group that takes care of Bracken Cave. Photograph taken by J. David.

Winfred F. Frick, Post Doctoral Scholar, Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology, Boston University who now lives in California, got the spirit. “Fred” with her eight month old son, Darwin, enjoyed the day. Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

Our celebration was really enlightening to these two men from Kazakhstan who are in the United States learning English at the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base. My son, David K. Bamberger, serves as a volunteer under the “Amigo” program. Don’t you know what a celebration such as this would mean to them? Kazakhstan is at the belly of Russia. It has around 15 million population and is the 9th largest land mass country in the world. Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

The lake was attractive to all the celebrants. Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

Luyi Zheng was born in China before her parents emigrated from China. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University where she majored in Marine Biology. Luyi visits Selah once a month to assist Liz Braun who is censusing our bat colony using infrared computer technology. Photograph taken by J. David.

David K. Bamberger, my oldest son, gave a historical review of the 4th of July and its importance to all of us in protecting our values as a nation. Photograph taken by J. David.

Joann DeLuna is a long time volunteer at Bracken Cave and hard working member of the Bexar Grotto. Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

For those who hadn’t been to Selah we toured the ranch for two hours on the BlueBonnet. It was a bit crowded, but the spirit of the day prevailed. Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

It really wasn’t the crowded BlueBonnet that put “Bike Man” on his bike for the tour with us. He is just into biking. I really don’t know his name. Only know that he was on the ranch for two weeks assisting in some research using vertical profiler radar which was used to explore the behavior of bats, birds and insects in the lower atmosphere. Wow! Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

There are many more photos of our “APPLE PIE AND 4TH OF JULY” celebration. I wish everyone could have been here. I particularly like the diversity of people. Not pictured are folks from England, Argentina and Canada who took the opportunity to speak . . . on our 4th of July patriotism was evident.

There are so many, many good causes that need financial help. Preserving the earth itself is important. So, if you would like to help us with a donation, we are a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation and gifts are deductible to the extent of the law. You can send your contributions to: Bamberger Ranch Preserve, 2341 Blue Ridge Drive, Johnson City, TX 78636.

1 comment:

Helen said...

JDavid, Just last week I visited and photographed brother Louis J Bamberger's name on the wall honoring those brave men who were shot down over the English Channel in WW2. Offered a prayer of gratitude and thought of you and the photos I'd seen hanging in your home. Amazing experience there at the War Memorial in England. Beautiful and deeply moving place. Will send the photo.