Do you remember when everybody stood at attention whenever they heard the National Anthem? Now, while most of us stand with our hands over our hearts and tears in our eyes, many others seem perturbed that they are expected to stand at all. It’s just one example of the erosion of reverence in our country.
Dictionary.com defines “reverence” as “a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.” It’s not as common a commodity as it used to be. People burn the flag of the United States of America as if it were a worn out rag. Nothing seems to be off limits for jokes on late-night television. Even the Pope has become a punchline.
Don’t get me wrong. Irreverence is, and should be, protected by the First Amendment to which we should also pay reverence.
Still, it is refreshing to me when communities display old-fashioned reverence.
A shining example is the courthouse.
In many communities it serves as the center of town. All roads lead to it and circle around it. The lawns surrounding the courthouse often have statues of heroes the town has honored for decades. Green historical markers boast of highlights from the past that cause pride to well up within the hearts of citizens. Memorials surround many courthouses as tributes to veterans who sacrificed their lives in combat.
When I was a child and I told somebody that I was from Fayetteville, I always followed that by saying, “We have the oldest active courthouse in Georgia.” We all did. And the listener would at least feign interest. Reverence for the courthouse was expected.
Many counties include an image of the courthouse in their logo. Spalding County does. So does Fayette. And Upson.
Viewed from the road, no courthouse is more beautiful than the one in Pike County. Built in 1895, it has a long and colorful history. Did you ever see the movie “Murder in Coweta County”? It was filmed in the Pike County Courthouse.
Now that refurbishing is complete, it is as beautiful on the inside. It is ready for many more decades of service to the citizens. Citizens who have every reason to be proud.
Citizens who need no lessons from anyone regarding time-honored virtues.