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Darts and laurels (7-4-15)

Laurels, and happy birthday, to the United States of America. The Great Experiment goes on, and here we are, 239 years after it began, still striving to create a more perfect union. Of course, we know our nation will never be perfect, because we the people are not perfect. But we are, all of us, Americans, and that’s a pretty darn good thing to be. We enjoy freedoms that people in many other nations can’t even imagine. We say what we want and defend one another’s right to do so, even when we disagree. We worship the way we desire, if we desire. We get the government of our choosing, for good or bad. Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of this great land’s birth, let’s remember that we are one nation under God, indivisible by forces external or internal. No matter how we feel about one another’s flags — be they rebel or rainbow or anything else — we can proudly stand shoulder to shoulder beneath the flag that belongs to us all, the stars and stripes of the USA. Have a happy and safe Independence Day.

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Laurels to summer learning. A variety of camps are providing opportunities to keep youngsters’ brains busy and expand their horizons over the school break. Twenty-one local young people got to see the horizon from a new vantage point as they learned all about aircraft and related careers. The Rowan chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association hosted its fifth annual A.S.C.E.N.D. camp in late June. During the weeklong camp, participants learned about aircraft maintenance and flight, the language and physics of flight, creating a flight plan and assessing weather. They also got to tour a control tower and get in a flight simulator. Some prior participants have gone on aviation-related careers, and some of this year’s campers expressed interest in doing the same. Jana Brown, education coordinator for the Experimental Aircraft Association, said seeing young people “pursuing a career that they didn’t know existed before this camps helps us keep going, and we know we’re making an impact.”

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