July 2, 2005, I began on a sidewalk in Eugene, Oregon. Needless to say, I was somewhat nervous and a bit intimidated, but with my wife's encouragement, I took a deep breath and stepped out of the car. Dressed as an American of the colonial era, my goal was to remind people from whence we, as a nation, have come and of the need to appreciate our inherited gifts. Standing in the hot July sun I began passing out copies of the Bill of Rights to passersby while wishing them a happy Independence Day. This I suppose, was my first public history lesson - that American Independence was not declared on July 4, 1776. As the day warmed, I also warmed to my task for most people expressed support. I went home at the end of the day with tired feet and a glad heart.
July 4, 2005, two days later and more emboldened, I attempted to attend a local Fourth of July festival. The officials, suspicious of my costume and my desire to hand-out copies of the Bill of Rights, were hesitant to permit me entrance. They expressed concern that I might be "political" but eventually relented after consultation with their director. Once inside I was again encouraged by the support I received by the people. As this celebration included musical entertainment, I offered to recite the Declaration of Independence during one of the breaks between performances but received a resounding,"No thank you!" This rejection only increased my resolve for my courage was now growing.
Driving home later that evening I had one prominent thought, "How do I sneak into the house without my neighbors seeing me in this crazy outfit? So much for courage!