By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Remember JFK's words 50 years later
Placeholder Image

Dear Editor,
I read the article in the Tribune: “County tourism grew in 2010.”
I know that I did my part by visiting Barton County twice in 2010 and patronized businesses while I was there.
Sometimes in my travels, it is convenient to go by another route, but I eagerly talk myself into visiting Barton County on more and more occasions,—including places like Olmitz, where my ancestors lived and where many of their descendants still live — by asking myself “why not?”
I grew-up in the Wichita metro area, and many urbanite people look down their noses at rural areas of Kansas. They shrug their shoulders and ask: “why?” as in “why visit a town such as Great Bend?”  
I am flexible: I can enjoy the fine ambience and trendy entertainment venues at a large city; yet I also have times when I briefly like the quiet rectitude or peaceful solitude of rural areas.
Barton County has the best of all worlds: with Great Bend essentially being a “small city” and places like Hoisington being a “big town.”
The smaller towns such as Olmitz and Pawnee Rock have a certain eloquence about them, which makes any visit enjoyable. I have been to other regions of Kansas in places that I jokingly refer to as “Purgatory” because they are located 70 miles to the nearest Wal-Mart store (one-way) and where town gossip is their main form of entertainment.
I dislike such places.
Cliquish people, especially those in “one-horse towns” turn me off with their smugness and disdain for outsiders.
I like Great Bend and the rest of Barton County because it is big-enough to enable me to obtain my needed supplies; yet small-enough where most people have a friendly attitude toward me.
In Great Bend and in the remainder of Barton County, the churches, the hospital, the college, and historical attractions are all superb.
I would hope that more Kansans would avail themselves of visiting the area. The challenge is to get people living at a distance to ask themselves: “why not?”
That reminds me of another type of motivating voice who urged people to prod themselves into doing good things by their own initiative. In 1961, John Fitzgerald Kennedy became the first president-elect to assume office under a 50-Star American Flag. This week marks 50 years since John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as president of the United States of America and spoke those immortal words: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
Few people realize that, earlier in that same speech: he also said, ”I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed.”
President Kennedy also indicated that some people are mistaken about where rights originate from. He correctly noted that rights and liberties “come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”
President Kennedy emphasized personal responsibility with the citizenry at-large duly instructing our representatives to do at a governmental level those things which cannot be conducted at the individual level.
President Kennedy spoke of bearing burdens, meeting hardship, supporting any friend, and opposing any foe. There was no talk of bailouts or free lunches. In today’s language, his words meant: “pitch-in and help to do whatever you can in a constructive way to help yourself and your fellow citizens” in making this a better world.
Helping our fellow man; helping boost Barton County tourism; reaching out to anyone at any time, in whatever fashion we can; are each examples of various types of goals that are attainable in Barton County (and in the rest of the nation) in this year of 2011.
I sincerely hope that people will mark this big mile stone anniversary by not just quoting the memorable sentence, but by carrying on the spirit invoked by JFK’s words on a regular basis.
James A. Marples,