Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”
If the current news trend is any indication, the American people’s lack of self control and moral standing means they are not long from a time when they will be forced to embrace the chains of new tyrants. But one young man in a small, rural Missouri town gives a hint of hope that the future of the United States may not be so bleak.
An hour and a half north of St. Louis sits the river town of Louisiana, Missouri. While being a small town of almost 4,000 people, Louisiana is unfortunately not spared from the problems encountered in larger cities, such as vandalism.
On June 24th, Mayor Niedner reported on his Ask Mayor Niedner Facebook page that he was “disheartened” to discover graffiti in one of the restrooms in Sunset Park (pictured left). To make matters worse, the restrooms had just been painted three weeks prior. But even Mayor Niedner, who is no stranger to the uses of social media having waged a successful online campaign two years prior to oust the previous mayor, couldn’t have foretold the results his post would produce.
Amazingly, one week later, Mayor Niedner received a letter addressed to the City of Louisiana. It read (pictured above):
Dear City of Louisiana,
I’m sorry for the graffiti that I did in sun set park. The reason why I did it was because I seen it other place in Louisiana and that nobody got in trouble for it. But I know that it was a dumb thing for me to do but what can I say we all make dumb decisions in our life. And now it time for me to be a man and face the consequences of my decisions. Once again I am sorry for the graffiti and I hope you accept my apology.
Mayor Niedner posted the letter on Facebook praising the young offender while hiding his identity:
IT’S NOT THE FALLING DOWN. IT’S ABOUT THE “GETTING BACK UP.”
A week ago I posted a pic of some vandalism (graffiti painted on a wall). Yesterday I received a very brave letter from a young man who owned having done it and requested the opportunity to make restitution. He will be repainting the wall and paying a small fine.
Here is the important part: I AM VERY PROUD OF THIS YOUNG MAN. We all make mistakes, especially when we are young. The ability to learn from those mistakes, take responsibility when we are wrong, and persevere in the face of embarrassment or difficulty – these are tremendous assets in life. So, while the vandalism is inexcusable, let’s also note the courage it takes to face consequences, make it right, and emerge a better version of ourselves.
We here at The Bell News agree with Mayor Niedner’s praise and handling of this young man. Because being virtuous doesn’t mean you aren’t going to fall down, it means that when you do, you’ll have enough character and moral fiber to take responsibility for your mistakes.
So while we may bemoan the future of this nation due to the degradation of the American people’s character and self control, take solace in knowing that in at least one small town in rural America, a young man’s display of courage and virtue gives us all hope for the future and for freedom.