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12/17/08, Needham Twp, IN - The horses and I enjoyed a restful day off.

Today, I received the following Guestbook entry. My reply is shown after the entry.

Guestbook Entry:

Name: Stan Reynolds

Where did you meet or see Bob?: Shelbyville, Ind., News


Bob, my hat is off to you. I am on the verge of turning 60 in January and miss the early years of my life when I would just up and quit a job to move somewhere else. I have had many different types of jobs in my life, and have been fortunate enough to have visited quite a few locations around the world as a sailor. I am currently teaching middle school science to 13 and 14 year olds from Greenwood, Indiana. Many of these kids are from upper middle class families where they have had most things handed to them on a platter. About a third of them are from poor families who struggle every day. As hard as I try to impart a sense of what freedom means, they just don't understand. Would you have any words of wisdom that I might share with them that might get through to them?




Reply to Greenwood Middle School Students:

Dear Greenwood Middle School Students,

Due to the wisdom of a rather small group of extraordinary men 219 years ago, you enjoy the luxury of living with personal freedoms seen in no other time nor in any other nation.

Thirty years ago, at the height of the cold war, I was stationed in West Berlin, Germany; a city that existed as an island of democracy behind the iron curtain of Eastern Europe. At the time, the people in Eastern Europe had no personal freedoms. The government was not chosen by them. They were told where they could go, what they could do, what occupation they must perform, what they could say, how they could worship, etc. If they didn't do as they were told, they were imprisoned with no recourse or defense of themselves. These people were essentially enslaved to the wishes of those in charge of their governments.

We live in a nation of laws. If those in power try to prevent you from doing anything that is not against the law, they can be arrested themselves for violating your basic rights. The basis for these laws is the Constitution of the United States of America - a truly unique document. But what really sets it apart from all other constitutions is the first ten amendments which were insisted upon by the Virginia delegation to draft the constitution - led by James Monroe. These articles give you personal freedoms that the people of no other nation have ever possessed. I encourage you to read them. They give rights such as: to tell a person in power that you don't like the way he is performing his job, or the right to refuse a police officer permission to search your car or home, and many more.

Yesterday morning, in Shelbyville, IN, I was asked by a young lady at Burger King why the police let me drive four horses and a wagon down the road - "don't they give you tickets and harass you?", she asked. I replied, “They can't, I'm breaking no laws!

I encourage you to learn about your rights and freedoms. Once you know your rights, stick up for them and don't let anyone violate them. Many good men and women have died defending the Constitution of the United States. To not stand up for your rights and personal freedoms would bring dishonor to their name.


Bob Skelding,