Letters From Leton: 4th of July Memories

All of us have lots of Fourth of July memories – fireworks, ice cream, watermelon, Tibetan Buddhist Nuns dancing to Tex-Mex music…
 
Well, maybe the latter is not one of your 4th memories, however it is one of mine.
 
The year was 2000 and the BCMA (Birthplace of Country Music Alliance) had been selected as a participant in the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The Festival is an annual two-week event held on the Capitol lawn from the Washington Monument to the Congressional Capitol building. 
 
The last event each year for the participants was a dinner back at the hotel on July 4th in Arlington.  Afterward, you could watch the fireworks across the Potomac. Before and after dinner the participants provided the entertainment. There were performers from the Rio Grande River Valley, a featured geographic area in addition to Washington DC which also wanted to be highlighted at the turning of the millennium.
 
The cultural theme was Tibetan Buddhism with Tibetan Priests and Nuns abounding. One of the Tex-Mex bands played while Buddhist Nuns, in saffron-colored robes (and shaved heads), spun to the music. Their robes flared out like reddish dandelion seeds dancing on the wind. I thought has this ever happened before? Am I witnessing cultural history being made?
 
A little later I spoke with one of the folks from Tibet. I shared my awe and wonder with him about the event. He shared his awe and wonder of democracy and true freedom in America, an assessment that remains with me and is magnified by the plight of Tibet, an occupied country.
 
Perhaps we always look across the fence and things seem better over there. We get tempted by what others tell us is needed for the country. And then a stranger reminds you how blessed you are at home in a free country where free men and women can become whatever they want to be.
 
I hope we keep that in mind this Fourth.
 
Have a great weekend. – Leton

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“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.