A True Story shared by Beckita
(As we’re revving up to take a stand for our freedoms while providing Godly stability on the streets and in public places in America, I was absolutely delighted to hear, from a dear friend, about a real life account of just such action, although, I’ve used fictitious names for my friend, his wife and the location in the retelling of the story, an Independence Day account of what it is to acknowledge God, take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. )
Yesterday, my friend, Henry, shared a wonderful story of standing up for freedom. Henry and his wife, Hildegard, live in a large city in America with their seven beautiful children and, in the summertime, this family enjoys the fun of going to a local beach. With the Covid restrictions, Henry said there has been sort of a back and forth discussion among neighbors about the beaches being opened or closed. Henry hadn’t actually read the decree about closure but he thought it seemed to be a completely irrational and capricious decision to close them down. Of course, said Henry, it made sense that they’re closed from the perspective that the Fourth of July is a patriotic holiday and his particular mayor would want to punish the constituency who would desire to celebrate at the beach.
On the 4th, Henry and his family decided to go to the beach near their home. When they were in the water, a lifeguard showed up. Now, there hadn’t been a lifeguard at the beach for weeks and this lifeguard authoritatively yelled: “The beach is closed! You have to get out by order of the mayor! You’ve got to get out!” So, Henry, a brilliant, fearless, and God-loving man, started chanting: “This is America! This is America! This is America! This is America!” Now, there were many other people at the beach and they became mesmerized by the exchange. Meanwhile the lifeguard made a phone call and her manager from the park district arrived and commanded, “By order of the mayor the beaches are closed and you have to get out!!!” Henry replied, “Thank you very much for doing your job. This is America! This is America! And we have declared that this is an Autonomous Zone of the Free Patriots of Regal City!” Who appeared next? A couple of police officers who had been called. Henry approached them and sincerely said, “Look, we respect that you’re doing your job and we support the police.” Then Henry added, “I understand what the mayor’s proclamation is. What we’re doing is peacefully protesting the order of the mayor and this is an Autonomous Zone of the Free Patriots of Regal City.” The police officers nearly incredulously asked, “This is an autonomous zone?” And Henry replied, “Yes. We’ve declared this an autonomous zone.” Henry then asked the officers, “Are you guys going to arrest us?” The police replied, “The law is you have to leave.” Henry respectfully insisted, “Well, we’re peacefully protesting.” The other police officer said, “OK. Thank you.” So, the family went back into the water.
The next thing you know, NINE police officers showed up… all for a Catholic family enjoying a few hours at the beach. Meanwhile, people walked up to Henry thanking him for speaking up. Henry coached the people saying, “This is what it means to be an American. We have to stand up for our liberties. Martin Luther King said – and he was quoting Aquinas – ‘if a law is unjust, then it’s no law at all. And we have a duty to protest it.’” Henry’s family continued to hang out, play in the water, throw a football, etc. and, soon after the discussion with the police officers, Hildegard said they should probably head home since they had been there an hour and a half by then.
As Henry told this story he remarked that you have to realize there were a lot of people sitting around the periphery of the area obeying the order and they were riveted on the scene unfolding before them.
Henry cheerfully called out to the children to hop into the car because it was time to go. After everything was packed in their vehicle, the family went over to the police, shook all their hands and thanked them wholeheartedly for what they do and assured them that their family supports the police.
Henry then told me his family planned to pick up donuts the next morning, drop them off at the police station and sing “America the Beautiful” for the officers.
Henry thoughtfully reflected he had believed the police were likely going to remove his family, but on further reflection he said, “I think they were just coming down to see what an American looks like… an American who stands up for his rights… an American who says “no” to a tyrannical mayor.”
Henry said the whole encounter was a little nerve-wracking but fun nonetheless. Hildegard shared that a woman had approached the officers and insisted, “So, IS the beach open? Or IS the beach closed?” One officer replied, “The beach is closed, Ma’am.” The woman protested while pointing to Henry and Hildegard with their clan, “But what about THAT family? THAT family was on the beach and they didn’t get a ticket. The mayor said that…” The police officer said, “Did you see us giving any tickets out?” So, the lady joyfully went onto the beach.
Henry noted as he told this story, “All it takes is one person who’s willing to stand up and say: ‘Enough of the crazy! Enough of the crazy.’” Henry added that during the whole time, he kept trying to focus on the Father to release peace into the situation. And it was very clear that the police were on the family’s side. Too, Henry said, “If you think about it… if the mayor allows for communists and Black Lives Matter people to loot, vandalize, destroy property and hurt people, are the police really going to arrest a family that’s peaceful, civic and Christian?” Answering his own question, Henry said, “I don’t think so.”
Henry further opined, “As long as we have police who have a sense of moral order, we’re not as far gone as we might have expected. So, praise God for liberty! Praise God for taking a step out!’
Joyfully, Henry recounted how, on the ride home, his wife was both affirming and proud of him. He welcomed being her hero and he also said to remember it is Catholic teaching to be a patriot of one’s country… to love our country and stand up for its defense and its liberties.
(In closing, I remind us that this story is true in every detail but for the changing of names and location. God bless Henry, Hildegard and their children! And God bless America! )