Digest>Archives> September 1997

Cape Hatteras and the Voice of Democracy

By Adam Richardson


Congratulations to Adam Richardson, winner of the 1997 Voice of Democracy Broadcast Scriptwriting Contest for the State of Georgia. The contest was sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. His winning script was entered into the permanent records of the United States House of Representatives by the Honorable Nathan Hale of Georgia on March 12, 1997. Following is the entire script as it was entered.


Above and Beyond

When Alexander Hamilton was a child, his family was traveling along the North Carolina coast by boat. He was so terrified of the surroundings, he vowed that if he ever became capable, he would build a lighthouse so large and bright that all those that resided in its glow would have nothing to fear.

In 1802, Hamilton, as Secretary of the Treasury, used his influence to get a lighthouse constructed on Cape Hatteras and to this day it stands, the tallest on the East Coast. Our American democracy that we have built with our blood, sweat, and tears is much the same as this lighthouse. Democracy, like a lighthouse was made with the lives of the men and women who first dreamed the dream to allow democracy to soar above and beyond.

As our democracy grows, we are indebted to be a caretaker of the lighthouse and keep it strong so that the ideal that we uphold, the beam of light, can be seen farther away with the clarity it commands. This beam of light, seen first by our forefathers, led them out of oppressive darkness to thrive in unforeseen opportunity. But the obstacles were untold, and to aid others who would follow them, they built our lighthouse to carry their vision above and beyond. We were indeed fortunate to have received a raw country instead of being given one stifled in outdated institutions.

Democracy still stands strong, yet it has enemies. As a lighthouse is constructed, the salt, sand, wind, and water attack it, intent on destruction. But when finished, a lighthouse is nearly indestructible and will stand up to the winds of change. When democracy stands tall and strong, it is the envy of its enemies and cannot be considered safe, because there is always a sea spray to diminish the radiance that give democracy the ability to illuminate the darkness. The democratic vision stands above and reaches beyond all barriers-but not without a struggle. The waves of ignorance often inhibit the gains of democracy. In many countries a child goes without an education because religious differences hurl bullets through the school-yard. In the former Yugoslavia 250,000 lives have been lost and millions displaced because of a campaign of ethnic cleansing. We in America are made strong with people with the same goals but not necessarily the same gods. Likewise, the winds of inequality topple the hopes of people in countries where one man's vote will not count as much as another's or possibly will not be counted at all.

On the other side of the lighthouse, where all is calm, are the opportunities and peace of mind that comes with a democratic nation. In America, like a harbor with its protected waters and secured ships, is a country with the betterment of the people the main issue. When democracy has fallen into rigidity, the government has always bent to refuse breaking-in the form of new laws, updating of old ones, and the acceptance of new schools of thought when the old way has proved itself ineffectual. Because this harbor is guarded by democracy and maintained by the power of the people, children can receive an education in the manner they should. Within the harbor a man goes to vote, and his ballot is cast without worry, "Will I be heard?", or "If so, will I be given a chance?"

Even though the wind and the waves can be kept out, certain elements cannot be held at bay. There is a fog that we cannot see through, even with attuned senses. If we leave this fog unattended, it will be our terrible demise. Many great civilizations have fallen to this killer that comes on cat feet. This killer that lurks in the fog is complacency. We must not become immune to what is going on around us because beyond the fog and beyond the safety of our democracy, the wind and waves are always surging, We must remain vigilant.

This story appeared in the September 1997 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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