Jul 112012

Steve Johnson, great-grandson of Renz Jennings, beats the famous bass drum as the Jennings Band plays. Then the anvil blasts, marking July 4 Taylor style. This year the Jennings Band, led by Mike Cole, was made up of 49 members from ages 11 to, well, who knows. Thirteen were from Taylor, five from Snowflake, 11 from other cities in Arizona and 17 drove a combined 46,000 miles from through-out the United States to participate in the Taylor 4th of July Celebration.

By Naomi Hatch —

   All attending the Taylor 4th of July Patriotic Program held June 30 enjoyed the patriotic spirit that prevailed.

The Jennings Band, directed by Lenn Shumway for over 50 years, played the prelude music, setting the tone for this patriotic event, and played four pieces during the program. The first song was Hooked on Patriotism, a tune arranged by Shumway that includes the songs of each branch of the service. Veterans stood as the song for their branch was played. The audience sang Arizona, the state song, to celebrate 100 years statehood. It was noted that the United States of America celebrate 236 years and the Town of Taylor celebrated 134 years this July 4.

It’s a tradition for many of these band members to travel to Taylor to participate in the celebration and play in the Jennings Band.

Ray West, Chaplain of the Day, honored his father, Karl Marion West, who made the ultimate sacrifice at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.  Karl was raised in Lakeside and Show Low, and lived in Snowflake for a while.

This year’s Stump Speech was given by Denton Isaacs, a teenager attending Snowflake High School.  He has a large following on YouTube, and is becoming well known as a comedian.  He said when he talked to Master of Ceremonies David Hamblin about the stump speech he was told that he could make politicians look stupid, but they do enough of that themselves.  He didn’t want to make fun of the Town of Taylor, because it’s a pretty awesome town and he didn’t want to bring up consolidation, because there were some pretty strong feelings and he could start World War III, so he shared what he thought of different types of personalities.

Hamblin introduced the Orator of the Day, Paul Hatch. He is a 1959 Snowflake High School graduate, and worked for Arizona Public Service Co., Apache Trading Post and owns Hatch Trading. He and his wife Sharlene, have five daughters, 28 grandkids and one great-grandchild. His hobbies are cowboy poetry and silversmithing.  He said, “My love of country is supreme.”

Hatch said that there are three things he knows he would have spoken on in the past: his love for the country; respect for our founding fathers and gratitude for God for preservation of the country; and Harry Reed, stating, “You might think I’m a fan,” but went on to explain that “Harry Reed is a perfect bad example.”

Hatch spoke of a danger, noting, “For decades we’ve exchanged our freedom for freebies.”  He asked fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, “Where are your children today?” noting, “They should be here…for that feeling you and I have.”

Hatch said his dad, Vern, had a “healthy disrespect for government…Congress has passed 18,000 new laws, maybe 10 were good,” he said.

“Are your children learning in 30-second snippets?” he asked, using examples such as the news, Jay Leno or worse.  He asked if our children are learning about America in school, and said that the only people to teach them about the Constitution and America are you, parents and grandparents.

He talked about how the founding founders met at State Hall in Philadelphia, Pa., 236 years ago, and that many Loyalists wanted to try one more time talking and send a petition to King George.  The men talked and debated, and in early June a resolution was put together.  They debated each day through June to July 2 or 3, and they finished writing the document, placed it on the table and debated more.  Finally, John Adams, a great statesman, stated that he was for this Declaration of Independence.  Following that, a vote was taken on July 4, 1776, though it was July 15 before New York’s representatives signed it, and we became a nation.

“That simple document wasn’t sufficient.  There was blood to be shed,” Hatch said.

“I firmly believe that without the aid of God, that document wouldn’t have prevailed and the war wouldn’t have been successful,” he said.  “I’m wondering if we’re making good use of that independence; not only independence from tyranny, but also independence of dependence on the government.” The biggest miracle was that great patriots established a document that gave freedom to the states, he said. This document was finally adopted as the Constitution of the United States.

Ben Franklin, who Hatch described as “not the kind of guy you’d expect to be teaching Sunday school,” gave one of the best speeches on religion that was ever given.  Franklin implored there be a prayer every morning.

“If you can’t be part of the solution, don’t be part of the problem,” Hatch said as he encouraged everyone to work at learning their true roles of being part of the government. He noted that the founding fathers wanted us to establish government and then get out of the way.  “It is my hope that God will indeed bless America,” concluded Hatch.