I must confess that this year was my first time ever voting for contestants on the American Idol television show. In fact I was voting for one contestant in particular, her name Angie Miller, a resident of my town Beverly Massachusetts. In thinking about Angie Miller and in-between writing my book, I cannot help but to think about the year the town of Beverly has had over all. A year that includes a historic season and Super Bowl win for the football team the second in the last 3 years. It is a year that includes other strong performing academic and sports programs along with an American Idol contestant. I can’t help but think like Buffalo Springfield, “There’s something happening here.”
When I look around to this small town called Beverly Massachusetts I have to ask myself could this be America’s Town? You can look on the bottom of any license plate and see Massachusetts touted as the Spirit of America. I think we can all agree that over the past few years or longer as a nation we have had to question that spirit. With the seeming disappearance of the American Dream we have a small town right here saying loudly and quite clear that we still believe. Our actions show not only do we believe but we are willing to put in the hard-work, dedication and perseverance necessary to reach for those dreams, so much so that a young lady can reach for the stars and take her shot on American Idol.
Yes, unexpectedly Angie Miller’s time was ended on American Idol and it was heartbreaking watching her tears streaming down, voice trembling trying to make it through her farewell song. Heartbreaking because like many of you I have recently experienced the same situation, where you do your best and fight so hard with every ounce of your heart and soul and but for some reason things seem not to fall in your favor. I felt her pain because it was my pain. But like Tom Hanks said in Castaway, tomorrow will come, the sun will rise and you never know what the tide will bring in. Angie has a dream, as do I, as do you. She continues forward as will I, as will you. The next day, Angie was on The Tonight Show and then Kelly and Michael, and off she goes, a star takes flight. Her spirit symbolizes Boston Strong, the spirit of a nation and the heartbeat of a small town.
Don’t get me wrong, Beverly is not perfect, we do not always win and we have a lot of internal issues to deal with. Despite these issues I can honestly say that we work as a community to support each other, do our best and win, lose or draw do so with dignity and respect. Yes there are other great towns, in fact I believe you may be living in one of them.
Angie Miller released her heart touching single she wrote, You Set Me Free almost the same time I released chapter 6 of my book, The Promised Land, we all have to start somewhere. I believe that the Spirit of America is alive and well here in Massachusetts and perhaps the small towns like Beverly across the country who represent the heartbeat of a spirit that manages time and time again to rise to the challenge. I may not know you but I am sure you like Angie Miller are a hero because through all the challenges you mange to get back up and come back that much stronger.
Keep dreaming, keep believing, together we have it in us to inspire a nation!