America is the great experiment of eternal hope and the desire to do right, that all may benefit from what is right and good for mankind
By David Zurfluh/National President
When I was a young teenager, the Fourth of July holiday and the month of July meant two things — barbecues and summer vacation.
Over the years, however, history classes, family who served, teachers who served, my own service to this country and my love of history books forever changed how I celebrate the holiday and month.
Our Founding Fathers created a Constitution and Bill of Rights like no other country, and those give us freedoms other people around the world wish they had. Many wars from the Revolutionary War to today have been fought, and many men and women have lost their lives to protect the freedoms we now enjoy.
It’s staggering to look at the bloodshed throughout our nation’s history and the bravery in all the wars it took to shape our country into what it is and preserve the security and freedom we have to choose our paths with very few obstacles compared with other countries of the world.
Free thinking, innovations, free speech, pursuit of happiness — sound familiar? These aren’t just words to me or to those who defended this country or to those defending it now. Think people in Venezuela or Russia wouldn’t like to have our freedoms right now?
Following World War II, our founding fathers at Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) didn’t forget the freedoms bestowed on individuals in this country, either. They laid the groundwork for veterans and others with spinal-cord injury and disease (SCI/D) to obtain good health care and to access places throughout our communities and country, no matter their level of disability.
PVA’s founders also provided support for our female members when views towards women were different from today (check out Anita Bloom, the first female PVA member). The obstacles they faced and challenges from the government and individuals back then are similar to what we have and are facing with the airlines and government with the Air Carrier Access Act.
What PVA does affects not only our members and veterans with SCI/D but also the disabled community throughout the world. PVA is also working with other veterans service organizations, such as Disabled American Veterans, the Wounded Warrior Project and others, to collaborate and serve the needs of our country’s veterans and expand opportunities for people with disabilities and their access to the world.
America is the great experiment of eternal hope and the desire to do right, that all may benefit from what is right and good for mankind.
When you’re spending time with friends and loved ones this Fourth of July and throughout the entire month, sit back with a drink, look at the flag and remember those patriots who came before us and those defending our country now. Hopefully, you won’t take for granted the freedoms and security they give us all.
On another note, I’m writing this column in late May, and I lost one of my mentors and founders of the PVA Northwest Chapter, Charles “Chuck” Karczewski. I can never repay the guidance this man gave me.
Chuck spent 55 years in a wheelchair, serving members of the Northwest and Florida Gulf Coast chapters before his passing. Please take time to read the newsletters from both chapters to learn more about Chuck.