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I'm the author of The Liberty Pole. I dabble a bit in blogging and have a fascination with early American history (late 18th century) as well as WWII. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Act Worthy of Yourselves pt. 2: America's Heart

My friend Heather and I took a trip down to West, Texas this weekend. No, not the far western section of the state, but the little town just outside of Waco that made national news this past week when a fertilizer plant exploded. We're both from Texas, born and raised, so while we felt helpless after the horrific attack in Boston on Monday, we decided that we could at least make a small difference in West. So we took up donations from those that couldn't go with us, packed it up and set off on the short drive there, not really sure what to expect.

What we saw was truly amazing, and Heather summed it up best: We saw the heart of America on Saturday.

People came from all over: we saw school t-shirts from near-by Baylor University and as far out as Lubbock's Texas Tech University. I saw a young woman in military fatigues, people from various companies coming out to show support, and volunteers from all over.

I think one of my favorite things was all of the kiddos that showed. I'm sure some of them had had their homes destroyed, but some were just along to help. An acquaintance of mine from the Waco Tea Party had her grandson there (I thought I'd snagged a picture of him, but now I can't find it) and he would walk up to anyone that would listen: "May I take that, ma'am?" "Can I help with that?" Twelve and fourteen year olds were organizing lines and directing people where to carry various donations.

Sic 'em Bears, helping the people of West
For those that don't know, West is about 25 minutes north of Waco

The plant exploded around 8PM Wednesday night and this was the following Saturday morning. I couldn't get over how organized everything was, and as the day went on new signs were made. Where it had simply said "Food" before, it showed "chips, bread, snacks" in one area and another collection in another. Everyone smiled at each other and there was no frustration with the large group of people moving around some fairly tight areas.

The Red Cross said Thursday that they needed clothes.
People gave so that everything was overflowing.

An ambulance pulled up stocked with water and
other supplies.
People would gather as soon as a new vehicle
showed up with donations, ready to help unload.

The front was full of supplies as well as the back.

I think everyone was in awe of the crowds that turned out.

A horse trailer full of supplies.

The guys started a line to get the water from the back
to the front. Everyone helped out.

You could see all the companies that were freely giving to support people in need. HEB was there, AT&T volunteered free charging stations for phones and those are just a couple that I saw. I know that Uncle Dan's BBQ out of Waco had donated in a couple of different ways.

I hear people say that Americans are selfish and that we don't give. They think that's why the government needs to do it for us, but that's not what I see. I see an amazing group of people willing to band together. Individuals, communities, and companies, local and otherwise. They were all willing to reach out to these people that had been struck by tragedy, and no one forced their hand. They gave of their own free will.

Heather is a high school teacher here in Texas and she told me how, when her kids found out that she was going, they jumped on the opportunity to give in any way that they could. Some wanted to go with her, some wanted to donate. It didn't matter how, they just wanted to give.

Last Wednesday I talked about the American Spirit and how it's shown so clearly in the face of suffering. We will always pick ourselves up and we will always carry on, but this is because we have each other. If you ever question it, just take a look at how we reach out to one another, how we rush into the face of danger - not thinking of ourselves, but of those that we can help - and you'll see the American Spirit. You'll see America's heart.

I'll leave you with this video. This post is primarily for West, but I can't let any more time go by without sharing this with you. As Joseph Warren said: "Our enemies are numerous and powerful; but we have many friends, determining to be free, and heaven and earth will aid the resolution."