As truckers we get to see this great nation. Symbols of our greatness are everywhere. This morning as I was kayaking, I had the privilege of watching a bald eagle. This bird is a magnificent creature. It proudly represents our great nation. Yes, I believe that we are a great nation. We have weaknesses. We have disagreements. That is for sure. We always have. We always will.

Then as I entered into the harbor I paddled along the Tug Ludington. To me this old tug boat is the perfect symbol of our nation. Being this close to that vessel always gives me goosebumps. When it was a “young” tug it dragged munitions barges across the English Channel It was there for the Normandy invasion. We look at July 4, 1776 as the day we were born as a nation. Tomorrow we will celebrate that day, as we should. I think June 6, 1944 is our greatest day as a nation. On that day our young troops landed at Normandy. This young tug was there to support them.

We will never know how many people died that day. Estimates are that over 10.000 soldiers lost their young lives. That day was meticulously planned and bravely carried out. The weather that day was not cooperative. The seas were rough. It had to go that day, or be delayed weeks because of the lunar cycle and the cover of darkness that would be provided that day. We got it done. That is what we do. It is part of what makes us great.

After World War 2 this boat continued its service with the Army Corps of Engineers and was stationed here in Kewaunee, WI. Its engineering chores were important. It helped build break walls. Tugs like this help keep the maritime industry safe and productive. Just as those young soldiers came back from WW2 and went to work so did this tug. Most of the human participants of that day have left us. This old boat is now “retired” and is permanently docked in the harbor. Symbols like Tug Ludington are all around us. We need to look for them and appreciate them.

This July 4 pause to reflect. We are facing problems. This is not the first time. It won’t be the last. We will figure it out. That is what we do. Yes, reflect on the problems that we are currently facing. Get involved. Vote. Just this 4th of July celebrate our greatness as a nation. We have earned it.

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Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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