1. Read the Declaration of Independence
    It’s a powerful document that is still relevant 239 years later. Everyone knows the line about all men being endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Did you know that the next line is: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” That was a pretty radical idea at the time.
  2. Shop Local
    One of the many great things about this country is entrepreneurship. During this long weekend, do business with a local shop owner. You’ll be glad you did.
  3. Visit a park
    This is a use of taxpayer money that I can support. It’s our duty to preserve our most beautiful, wide-open spaces for the next generation. In case you didn’t know it, national parks also include historically and culturally significant places, also, such as battle sites or birth places of famous men and women. If you’re not close to a national park, check out a state park.
  4. Volunteer
    Small businesses may be the engine of our economy. Farmers put food on the tables. Innovators are just now conceiving of the next great invention. All of these groups contribute to America's greatness, but volunteers keep our communities going strong every single day. Little league coaches teaching sportsmanship. Neighbors stocking shelves at the local food pantry. Concerned citizens cleaning up roadsides and waterways. People of all walks of life building houses for people in need. The amount of time, effort and love given freely by volunteers across the country is staggering. It’s hard to imagine life in America without volunteers.
  5. Remember Veterans
    I know there are other holidays rightfully set aside to honor veterans, but how can we celebrate freedom without taking a moment to think about those who protect it. 

I was shocked but also pleasantly surprised when I heard
the news that two organizations typically on opposite ends of the political
spectrum were working together on an issue. The Tea Party Patriots and the Sierra
Club are cooperating to promote solar power in Georgia. They arrive at the same
place from slightly different angles, but at least they found common ground.

Don’t worry, this blog is not diving into politics. We're not even offering an opinion on the issue. We just think it’s good
news when two groups can identify an issue of common interest and work together to achieve change.

Today’s good news appeared in Sunday’s Roanoke Times. The highlight of the entire newspaper was this excellent article on a group of local scouts and leaders who participated in a high adventure program n New Mexico. The
writer does a great job of describing how a big trip like this takes a year or
more of preparation. The fundraising and shakedown hikes are all part of the
experience. The author of this article says it all so well that I’m not even
going to try to add to it.

That a place like Philmont Scout Ranch, where young
people can have life-changing experiences, exists is today’s good news. If only every teen in America could participate in a challenging wilderness trip and learn about teamwork, leadership, confidence and the simple joy of hanging out around a campfire. This would surely be a better society.

Those of you who have been reading Good News Monday for a while could probably see this choice coming from a mile — or as much as five kilometers — away. This blog has written extensively about great stories of perseverance, role models, the achievements of young people and, as much as any other topic, the amazing members of our military. Here's a great story that brings them all together.
Here's the story that went viral last week. A group of marines decided to run in a local 5K race in Michigan last week. After crossing the finish line, the group realized that one of their own was missing. They wondered if he suffered an injury along the course and were about to go looking for him when he came around the bend running alongside a small boy. Earlier in the race, the nine year old boy got separated from his friends and family. He said to Lance Cpl Myles Kerr, "Sir, will you run with me?" Kerr ran with the boy and encouraged him along the way when he wanted to quit. They crossed the finish line together in a photo that has been seen around the world.
One of the things I loved about the sport of running back in the days when I participated in local 5K and 10K races, is that even those who had no chance of winning the race or even their age group still had something important to race for. They call it "Personal Best" or "Personal Record." Last week in Michigan, Lance Cpl Kerr may not have logged his best 5K time according to the race clock, but he demonstrated what it means to give one's personal best.

One of the few awards show I like to watch is the ESPY Awards on ESPN. Although I have written before in this blog about how America needs better role models than highly paid, bad boy athletes, the world of sports does provide some amazing moments. Sports offers some important benefits to society. First, it pushes people to work hard to improve their own skills and performance. That goes for not only the best athletes in the world, but also for amateur golfers, tennis players, runners and others in every single community. Second, it brings people together. Friends and neighbors can disagree on many subjects, but when they're both fans of the same sport, ot even better, the same team, nothing else seems to matter.
This years ESPY Awards found a story that combined both of these things. It's a story of a father and son that will leave you speechless. First, get the background on Dick Hoyt and his son, Rick. Then watch their brief speech as they accepted the Jimmy V Award at the ESPYs, noticing the response from the crowd and the looks on athletes faces as they realize that their multi-million contracts and their world of privilege and perks don't mean a thing compared to what the Hoyts have faced.

It would be easy to find discouraging news in today’s
blog (like the fact that the TSA is totally out of control), but please don’t.
After all, it’s Good News Monday. The important thing in his story is that
common sense and justice ultimately prevailed. The 69 year old actor who played Chewbacca in
the Star Wars movies was heading home to Texas after appearing at the Denver
Comic Con Convention when airport TSA agents detained him after deciding that his
cane — a custom made cane that looks like a light saber — was a weapon.

To paraphrase Jim Croce, you don’t tug on Superman’s
cape. You don’t pull the mask of the old Lone Ranger. And you don’t try to take a super-cool cane away from "Chewy."


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