I had the privilege of singing the National Anthem for the Thirty-Ninth Annual National Wild Turkey Federation this week in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel. This organization is located in Edgefield County and has changed the complexion of our county. The theme, Save the Habitat-Save the Hunt, was front and center for the entire convention. Conservation and protection of our environment is extremely important to these passionate men and women.
I travel around and speak for lots of conventions but this particular crowd had a different feel to it. Forty-five thousand attended this three-day event; these folks are true-blue Americans who love this country, love our Veterans and represent all that is good about America.
The word that came to me as Thomas and I mingled in the crowd was “thankful.” Ironically, the turkey is celebrated at Thanksgiving but you may be surprised to know the turkey was suggested as our national symbol. Basically, the turkey almost beat out the eagle. Benjamin Franklin made the argument that the turkey is a very intelligent animal. Turkey hunters know this fact well.
Here is an excerpt from a November 20, 2009 article by Gary Clark
After the bald eagle won the honor instead, Franklin wrote to his daughter that the turkey was “more respectable” than the eagle, which he thought was “of bad moral character.” Franklin expressed admiration for the pugnacious way barnyard turkeys defended their territory, a trait he liked in Americans, too.
I loved my few days in Nashville spending time with wonderful folks from across the country. It reminded me of the values that make this country great. It also reminded me of the great responsibility we all share to protect our environment.
Be thankful for the resources we are blessed with but also be responsible for sustaining their beauty and majesty.