“People and nations are forged in the fires of adversity.”

John Adams

So much of the news and other media we consume—whether left, right, or somewhere in between—is negative and polarizing. But today I am here to tell you heartwarming stories about the kindness of strangers.

The mission that Cedric has undertaken is fraught with perils. Predators—of the two-, four-, six-, eight- and no-legged varieties, narrow roads with heavy traffic, exhaustion, dehydration, and injury, to name just a few. It’s a grueling journey: day after day and mile after mile with a heavy pack, sore feet, isolation, and now brutal temperatures in dry, drought-ridden terrain. Yet Cedric chose this for himself and stays the course despite its many hardships. He carries with him an unwavering belief in the United States of America and the hope of inspiring others to stand up and speak out in support of the freedoms upon which our great country was founded 245 years ago.

It never seems to fail that—especially when conditions sound as if they’ve reached a new low—a Good Samaritan will appear to provide support and encouragement. Following are some of the encounters Cedric has described to me. A few of these good people who subsequently subscribed to this blog will recognize their stories below, even though I’ve left out their names. I’m sure there are some notable stories I’ve forgotten; I hope you’ll forgive me if yours is one of them.

After Cedric’s days-long, tiring solo drive across the country, the auto salesman who paid Cedric a fair price for his car, then shuttled him back to the starting point for his journey miles away. The property owner who emailed after meeting Cedric to see if there was anything he could do to help. The teacher in eastern Washington who showed Cedric the amazing things young people can achieve when you believe in them, and invited Cedric into his family’s home for a much-needed overnight respite from the trail. The barista who, after hearing about Cedric’s mission, gave him his coffee for free.

The helpful and compassionate staff at a medical clinic who, on a Friday just before closing time, were generous with their time, advice, and caring treatment to ensure Cedric’s health and well-being. The administrator at a medical practice who, knowing Cedric’s time constraints, rearranged a surgeon’s already packed schedule to squeeze in an appointment for him. The veteran who befriended Cedric when he had to hole up in one place for a few days while waiting for that medical appointment; he also donated supplies and spread the word among the VFW community.

The conservancy worker who sent an email saying she had seen and talked with Cedric, at a time when he was traversing big predator country (grizzly bears and mountain lions), had no cell phone reception, and hadn’t been able to call home for days. The desk attendant at a hotel who found a discount for Cedric on the price of an expensive room that fateful day when exhaustion and dehydration hit so hard that camping out was just not possible. The unseen person who, when Cedric stepped away from his backpack for a just a moment, snuck some cash into one of its side pockets.

The many people who have spread the word about the March though their networks on social media and good old-fashioned word of mouth. The novelist and YouTuber who invited Cedric to be a guest on his channel, helping to vastly increase the audience and support for The Long March of Liberty literally overnight. The family who surprised Cedric by paying for his supper on a Saturday night. The two boys who were enthralled by the story of Cedric’s journey and handed him a protein bar. The rancher in a bone-dry, remote area who saw Cedric walking alongside the road in intense heat and offered him access to as much water as he could use.

And countless others who have stopped to make sure Cedric was okay, to offer him food, drink, or accommodations; and upon hearing about his mission, offer words of support and encouragement, and sometimes also a few dollars to help with costs along the way.

Small things and big things, but every single outpouring of kindness and generosity has made an enormous difference nonetheless.

So don’t believe the doomsayers telling you that this country’s best days are behind us, that the Republic is unrecoverable. They are not and it is not. This Independence Day, remember that good people like these are the heart and soul of this country.

Come to think of it, the title of this article is wrong—these aren’t strangers. Though the encounters with many of them may have been fleeting, I think these fellow citizens are best referred to as friends.

“If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?”

Abigail Adams, Letter to John Thaxter, September 29, 1778

Happy Independence Day!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. josephlbast

    A nice post, Susan! Back in the 1970s I often hitchhiked around Wisconsin and few times cross country, as far as South Dakota and Maine. The people I met were unfailingly generous and kind, I never felt threatened even as a teenager and young 20-something far, far from home. Nowadays ”they” say it’s too dangerous to hitchhike or to pick up hitchhikers… I haven’t seen one along the road in many years. I wonder if it is really less safe than it once was, or if people just aren’t as trusting or courageous as they once were?

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