The 4th of July and Zoos

On this 6th of July, 2010 I am thankful for the gift of having been born in the USA.  I owe my emigrant grandparents and first generation USA parents more than they can ever know.  My thanks to them.  We in America have our problems, our disagreements,  our uncertain futures and, increasingly it seems, our haters, but this is still the best place in the world to live and enjoy the freedom, the economic opportunities and the educational opportunities that are not surpassed anywhere else in the world.  Each generation of Americans has to make some sacrifices to preserve and earn  freedom and opportunity for all of its members, and I am hopeful that the generations following this septuagenarian appreciate what they have and will make the necessary sacrifices for it.

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The holiday week-end was spent with family, including a shower at our home for the next grandchild, during which a few of us male members took my 5, 4 and 3 year old grandchildren to the Des Moines Zoo.  The threat of rain resulted in a small crowd, but the rain held off.  We all enjoyed seeing  red pandas, birds, giraffes, gibbons, sea lions, seals,  lions, a serval, a snow leopard, lesser kudus,  and other animals.   My favorite was the pair of red pandas.  The grandchildren enjoyed the bird show, with Saurus Cranes, Andean Condor, Galahs, Emus, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, and Peregrine Falcon  performing wondrous feats in exchange for treats.

I prefer to see birds in the wild, but the zoos of the world, at least the better ones, including Des Moines Blank Park Zoo, are performing a necessary service in displaying and often preserving our birds and other wildlife for the enjoyment of the majority of us who do not or cannot venture forth in the great outdoors to see these threatened natural wonders of the world.

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The evening of the 4th we all gathered again at home for a hamburger and brat cook-out, followed by the traditional homemade vanilla ice cream.

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It was a wonderful day and we are sorry only that all of the family, including our overseas serviceman, were unable to participate.

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