It’s not very often that someone special rides into town, even more rare when they actually ride into town on a pair of horses. About 4 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, Henrietta from the Beehive came into the office followed by several teenagers, all talking and gabbing about something. I was on the phone and couldn’t attend to them right away, so they left a message with Travis and walked back down into town. After finishing my phone call, Travis informed me that there is a guy with horses stopping for something to eat in town. I packed up a recorder and the camera and went to investigate.
On the street in front of the Beehive stood two horses, one with a pack strapped onto its saddle area, the other with a saddle and a large american flag secured to the saddle waving in the breeze. At a table sat what you can describe as a cowboy. Vest, holster, chaps, boots and a leather hat, decorated with pins, feathers and other items.
He stood up and introduced himself…”Hello, I’m Sam Hopkins-Hubbard and I’m riding across our great nation.” He invited me to set down and talk as “it’s easier to just set and talk to someone.” He left Milton-Freewater, Oregon on April 5th and is carrying the American Flag across country in an attempt to bring a message of unity all across the country. “We’re trying to drop all the labels, drop everything that has us fighting…We’ve got a country to restore and we can’t do that if we are fighting with each other. We’ve got to stand united, we’ve got to stand together, that’s how we’ve always been the strongest.”
He feels strongly that what has happened to the country is because of inaction toward restoring what the founders have given us. He stated that we are the authority in this country, the citizens were given this government by the founders and we have been “like the owners that have forgotten to show up for work and the employees have taken it over and now it’s time for the owners to get back to work.” “The employees think they are the owners, they’ve never been the owners… Washington D.C, Congress, the President… they are not the owners, they are our employees.”
He went on to explain that we have to protect our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, without those things we don’t have anything that sets us apart as Americans. “Those two things make a melting pot work, they make freedom work…they are trashing those as quick as they can. We have got to restore those.” He believes that we have got to vote out anyone who does not take the scared oath to protect and defend the Constitution seriously. “We just have to fire any of our employees that won’t work upholding their promise or oath.”
“This country has always come to gather during times of need.” he went on to explain, “Our borders are like a bucket with a hole in it, we’re financially broke…there is nothing going right for our children and if we don’t fix it now, we’re done. It’s time to stand together.”
“It’s been a journey of faith as well. God has provided for me all along the way.” He showed us a video on his phone as the came through the Avenue of Flags in Holstein, Iowa. A Local Boy Scout, Michael Perrett Dessel-Schmidt and Post 225 of the American Legion and the City of Holstein have teamed together to create an “Avenue of Flags” consisting of 267 flags along the frontage road on the southern edge of Holstein. Michael chose this endeavor as his Eagle Scout project. When he brought the idea for the project to the members of the Legion Post the members gladly signed on as “advisors” and agreed to reach out to the community to make veterans and their families aware of the project. Now it is a spectacular Flag lined road that stretches on for over one half mile with flags added monthly. Each flag is dedicated to a veteran with a plaque the denotes the war and the soldier. “This is just one of the things that turns up in your journey. God just sets these in our path as we go across the country.”
“As Americans, we can do any dang thing we please when we set our mind to it. The first step is to start thinking like a free man. If your first thought is to see if you need the governments permission in life and you have to ask them…then your footsteps will take you in that direction.” To explain further he noted that “I’ve only had two people since April deny me a place to stay…One could not figure out why I don’t have this whole thing planned out and why I have to look for a place to stay, he couldn’t understand that. Then he looks at me and said ‘Have you even checked with the police to see if you are allowed to do this?’ and I said you know I was asking you for a place to sleep, but I can see I’m in the wrong place, the police aren’t going to help me…so I rode away.” Sam said “That’s the whole attitude that we have to get permission to live our lives…we don’t…they need permission from us, and unfortunately we have given them permission by keeping our mouths shut.”
Sam started to tell us about all of the unique and interesting people he has met on his journey. A few stand out in particular. “Two nights ago I stayed in the home of a ninety six year old lady. There was four homes around her…her kids, her grand kids…it was like a family area outside of Murphystown, WV. At 9:30 at night, she starts getting breakfast ready, baking biscuits and getting things ready for the next morning. She knocks on my door at ten minutes after five in the morning and tells me breakfast is ready. I go down stairs and there is a whole farmhouse spread laid out on the table for breakfast. Too much to eat.” Sam told us that her husband lived to the ripe old age of 98, they were married 74 years. He told us to look at what he wrote about her on his facebook page: Its 9:30PM and Gladnalene Bell...96 years old...is baking and preparing breakfast for her family and I. Gonna have biscuits and gravy. She told me her door is always open no matter if your red, white, black, or green. She is American Strong...and truly inspirational. Such a Sweet Heart. Will somebody please tell everyone not pulling the wagon to stop whining...your embarrassing yourselves!!!
He went on to say that Gladnalene and her husband raise fifty foster children after her retirement.
Sam spoke about just how inspiring it is to meet common folks who have the heart and values that our founding fathers brought with them. “Go on my website or my facebook page to see the heart of America.”
He talked about his two horses he selected to take on the trip. Max and Tucker it turns out, don’t like the tunnels, with Max being more cautious. Tucker, the pack horse, decided that he was going to be the lead horse through the tunnel, so he just walked ahead and lead Max and Sam out of the long tunnel at West Union. It was interesting to see the unique bond between Sam and the horses. They are all depending on each other to do their jobs and work together, much like the vision he has for America. Everyone pulling their own weight, helping out when someone needs it, but not settling into that dependency.
“I have a little real small little neighborhood marketer back home… Latte and coffee shop, meats and cheeses…very small, I’m a Captain on the fire crew and I sit on city council, I was a co-chair to the flood control district when FEMA came in and certified all of our water levees…I see how things work, I see what they are doing. They are trying to shut down our ranchers, our farmers and small farmers and our small towns. By applying pressures that we can’t afford. By making mandates that we can’t keep up with on the town level. They give you options, but neither of them a small town can afford.” Sam believes that “the Federal Government is out of controls and as citizens, we have got to get them reigned back in and remind them of their place in this government. They need to stay within their limits.”
He went on to explain that “the Constitution was written for us. It wasn’t written so that you have to go and get a degree as an attorney just to understand it. People that don’t like what it says, the are the ones trying to twist it and redefine words so it says what they want. I don’t need somebody to tell me when the Second Amendment says the government cannot infringe upon our right to bear arms. What part of cannot infringe do they not understand?”
He believes strongly that the new term of “hate speech” is leading us down a path of removing our freedom of speech. He noted that it has even reached into the pulpits of our churches where one church cannot talk about another churches actions or beliefs as it would be a hate crime.
Mr. Hopkins-Hubbard’s message is simple. The country needs to get back to the principles of it’s founding. The Bill of Rights and the Constitution, in plain english, spell out the roadmap to success as a nation. The founders spent years observing other forms of government, noting it’s strengths and its flaws. They debated endlessly as to how this new government should be structured so no one person could wrest control of the country and do as they pleased. “We have got to get back to these principles.” He told us that what he has seen has given him a lot of hope. “Everywhere I have been in this country, there is this spirit that’s rising up, patriotism…the American Brotherhood…it’s rising up. We as a nation are sick of the federal government…no one knows what to do about it, but we know we are sick of it. It’s like a water ballon that is slowly filling up with water…it’s just going to take a little poke and that things going to let loose.”
All along his journey folks have spoken about a revolution of sorts. “Not a violent revolution, because if it turns violent, we all lose. We need a revolution of spirit, of heart, of perseverance, of fortitude…we need to stand up and exercise our constitutional rights, exercise that system that our founders gave us. We need to fix our voting system. People are ready.”
Sam’s destination now seems to be Norfolk, VA. “I go wherever God leads me on this journey, that’s why I don’t have this whole trip planned out.” Sam saddled-up Tucker and untied Max and headed back toward the Rail Trail. “I want to get a picture in front of your courthouse.”
We walked with them up to historic courthouse square where the three rode out onto the lawn. Stopping for a minute to pose, the two horses grabbed a nibble of grass. Sam raised his flag, and the three walked on down to Main Street and disappeared onto the Rail Trail.
Sam’s story will be unique. He plans on writing a book about this adventure and all of the wonderful people he has met along the way.
It is inspiring to think that one man and two horses can help connect like minded Americans along a back road from Milton-Freewater, Oregon to West Union, West Virginia and if things go that direction, Norfolk, Virginia.
Sam had asked if we would print his website: onenationride.com and Facebook page: onenationride.