Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.


We celebrate our independence as Americans this weekend – all of us – but only a few actually appreciate (and remember) the cost of what it took to be what we are.  I would suggest that those who do not remember take time to figure it out…and soon.

As we rightly celebrate the freedom of our nation on this 4th of July, it’s also poignant to consider how the passage of time – 245 years (since 1776) – has led many of us to forget about people and events that have culminated in becoming our national day.  And it is our ‘national’ day, when we reflect upon the American Revolution, the Civil War, the World Wars, and every event associated with freedom and the American standard of life.  And yet, in the midst of pageantry…we forget.

Now if any of you have made Press Pros a habit – have read my annual 4th of July commentary on how we secured the American way – you might recognize that the above paragraph is exactly how I opened last year’s column.  I do that for perspective, because with each passing year we seem to draw further and further from the reality of what it’s taken to actually be ‘American’.

Put it this way.  Where we once celebrated the history of how we got here, now we want to pretend it didn’t happen, and claim some kind of financial refund for anyone that suffered along the way.

What we really forget is that a helluva lot of people fought and died to make America the land of the free and the home of the brave.  We fought Great Britain (twice), we fought ourselves (The Civil War), we fought the World Wars, the Korean War, and wars unspeakable since 1776 for the privilege of being the strongest, the most opportunistic…and the most coveted society IN THE WORLD.  And if you question that because of the current progressive mindset that all we do is keep people down…ask yourself if there’s two million immigrants a year trying to get into Russia or China illegally to take advantage of those two great cultures.  It’s a very simple burden of proof.

America got to be great at one time because we fought.  We fought with our lives…and died…to rid ourselves of English oppression in the 18th century.  All those wonderful stories about Paul Revere, the shot heard ’round the world, and Valley Forge…those aren’t fairy tales.  It really happened, and if you want a sense of the suffering of oppressed colonists back then, go to Netflix and watch Mel Gibson’s movie, The Patriot, released in 2000.  The events depicted in that film were common during the Revolutionary war.  The British did lock the families of colonial fighting men in churches and set them on fire, along with innumerable other atrocities against those disloyal to the British crown:  and all for the sake of breaking their spirit for living independent of a tyrannical King George III, also remembered for eventually going mad after losing the American colonies.

“Fellow Americans, we cannot escape history.”  – Abraham Lincoln

Now today our borders are threatened by those seeking asylum from that same kind of tyranny in Central American countries, which presents this great irony on the 4th of July.  They say they need America for refuge – opportunity paid for by the blood of millions of Americans who sacrificed their last full measure since July 4, 1776.

How convenient, instead of executing the example of America – fighting on their own homeland to rid themselves of their own tyrants.  No, it’s easier to take advantage of a discounted freedom that we paid for – one they CANNOT appreciate.

There is always suffering that comes with freedom, which is why we weep over the graves of our fallen as we rightly celebrate – appreciate – our independence day.  And the fear is that with each passing generation we lose more of the will to actually ‘fight’ to preserve that which was purchased through the blood of our fathers.  Sad irony:  Some prefer it that way!

We don’t want to fight anymore.  It’s barbaric.  It’s not inclusive.  And when our current president makes those statements about “the better angels of our nature” he’s borrowing from the sacrifice of others…because he never served, receiving five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War era.

The fact is that America is full of people who couldn’t, and wouldn’t, fight their way out of a wet bag because we have no stomach for conflict of any kind.  Watch the Mel Gibson film and ask yourself if you could endure that kind of trial.  And do you deny…that hardship and sacrifice is the mortgage of being an American?

“Maybe this time, with all this much to lose and all this much to gain:  unbelievable victory and the desperate gamble.”  –  William Faulkner

William Faulkner, the Nobel Prize winning author, once wrote this about the fighting at Gettysburg:

“For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863.  The brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out, and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word. It’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet.  It not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin.  We have come too far, with too much at stake, and that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think, this time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain:  unbelievable victory and the desperate gamble.”  –  William Faulkner
 Like it or not – believe it or not – this is our history, and this is our future.  You cannot, as Lincoln proclaimed, escape it.
I will not write about parades and marching bands this year, only of the dividends of an American treasure that the world believes open for the taking;  that there is a price, one that documented Americans have paid for repeatedly. Whether we believe it, or have forgotten, we’re consecrated with blood.
Can you think of a greater irony this 4th of July?