02/04/13 — A real message: Super Bowl commercial shared American spirit

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A real message: Super Bowl commercial shared American spirit

Forget the hype. Forget the controversy. Forget the shock value.

What a surprise -- the top Super Bowl ads did not include Dorritos, Pepsi or geeks kissing supermodels.

The ones you liked the best were centered around something that we hope this country will never lose ... heart, and values.

Of course, the No. 1 ad was the tiny Clydesdale who is raised by his farmer pal to become a member of the iconic Budweiser team but who never forgets where he came from or his best friend.

If you did not at least tear up, you must have been in the bathroom.

But there was another gem in this year's offerings from the people at Dodge Ram trucks -- and it should have touched many hearts in this area, especially.

It was a rendition of radio commentator Paul Harvey's speech to the 1978 FFA convention accompanied by a slide show of real farmers at work and the iconic images of their lives.

It was heartfelt. It was touching. It was the truth -- and for many local families -- it was their story.

As technology takes over the world and we become more and more separated from each other, we miss stories just like these. We forget the people who make a difference in our lives simply by the sacrifices they make and the passion and heart they give to the work they do.

We will never meet them or be able to thank them for what they have accomplished in our name or for the world they have helped build.

But they are the everyday heroes who make our lives possible.

And how heartening it is to realize that the most popular ads in this year's Super Bowl -- an event that was full of razzle and dazzle, big money performers and athletes, not to mention commercials full of innuendo and new, now, next -- were two spots that reminded us of the simple pleasures, the real priorities and the people who work behind the scenes because they are answering a simple calling.

You have seen the signs "Thank a farmer" -- and if you live in Wayne or Duplin counties, you probably could even do that personally.

And if you are from this area, you should have puffed up a little bit, too, when you saw the images -- these are your people, too.

The best part of the ad is that it could apply to many of you, some from the Midwest, the cattle farms, the orange groves, the dairy farms, the Great Plains -- anywhere where people till the land and care for animals, and have done so for generations.

It was our chance to remember that this country was not really just built on industry and technology. It was built on the backs of men and women who wanted to create a better life for their families in a new and exciting world and took care of ours in the process.

It is a history of which we should be very proud -- and a value system and heritage we should honor and remember.

So, today, in honor of our farmers, our ancestors and those who will carry on their legacy, we have included the entire text of Paul Harvey's speech. It rings as true today as it did in 1978 -- and it should inspire you -- as it did us -- to strive to remember just who we are as a nation and the people who helped us and still help us build it every day.

It is our way of saying thanks.

And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker."

So, God made a farmer.

God said "I need somebody to get up before dawn and milk cows and work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board."

So, God made a farmer.

God said "I need somebody with strong arms. Strong enough to rustle a calf, yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry and have to wait for lunch until his wife is done feeding and visiting with the ladies and telling them to be sure to come back real soon ... and mean it.

So, God made a farmer.

God said "I need somebody that can shape an ax handle, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And ... who, at planting time and harvest season, will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon. Then, pain'n from "tractor back," put in another 72 hours."

So, God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor's place.

So, God made a farmer.

God said, "I need somebody strong enough to clear trees, heave bails and yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink combed pullets. ... and who will stop his mower for an hour to mend the broken leg of a meadow lark.

So, God made a farmer.

It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight ... and not cut corners. Somebody to seed and weed, feed and breed ... and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk. Somebody to replenish the self-feeder and then finish a hard days work with a five-mile drive to church. Somebody who'd bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who'd laugh and then sigh ... and then respond with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life "doing what dad does."

So, God made a farmer.

-- PAUL HARVEY, 1978 FFA convention

Published in Editorials on February 4, 2013 10:49 AM