by Jack and Andy
The sun rose to the East, looking over the mountainous landscape, casting its sullen gaze on tall broad peaks and sunken valleys; hollows and hills that had not been climbed since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document that declared this land free from foreign rule. This was a new day, an important day. One never to be forgotten for there are those on this day whom we should never forget.
Nordic veterans and recruits alike gathered on the Vermont shore, shaking out stiff limbs and rekindling old bonds. This was to be a challenge, to start from a bridge connecting the two mighty states of Vermont and New Hampshire and to travel to the top of Smarts Mountain, a lofty peak scraping the sky high above. To follow the path, both road and trail, blazed before by others, and yet to make it our own that day; that was the goal.
After a group picture, we were off, and as people settled and broke out ahead, so does the tale…
Andy: As we reached the turn on to Dorchester Road Jack and I realized we had managed to break away from the pack on our bikes. We waited until we saw both my dad and his cresting the hill in the glorious sunlight. As we reached the trailhead we refilled our water bottles and started the treacherous ascent of the mountain where every once and a while we would reach a viewpoint where we would stare off into the mountains of New Hampshire.
And so, as we stood on the summit, I could begin to see why we celebrate the 4th. Looking out over those other peaks, stretching in a line as far as one could see and down to the valleys and rivers and lakes below, it became clear. This land, these states, this country, was beautiful beyond compare. All that time; wars fought, men sitting in stuffy courthouses arguing back and forth, it was all for this. To keep this free, to keep this ours. Today was more than a time for cookouts and baseballs games, today was a day to be proud as an American, to look around and to be proud of where we live. While we stood there, I truly hoped that all those who had made this country possible were pleased to see people, both young and old, enjoying the land they helped protect.