September 1, 2020


By Neal A. Shipman

Farmer Editor

Like so many other people, it has been pretty hard to find many things that have truly brought a smile to my face this summer thanks to COVID-19 and all of the political and social unrest.
Every summer event that I have looked forward to attending has been cancelled over COVID-19 concerns. Not only have those events been cancelled because of the coronavirus, but my wife and I have not been able to fly to Arizona to see our first, and only grandson because of coronavirus concerns. While we have been able to enjoy watching Remington grow thanks to Facetime, it has been exasperating not to be able to go see him now that he is nine months old and changing so rapidly.
Equally unsettling to me and no doubt many other Americans is the political and social unrest that we have witnesses this summer. It has been hard to come to grips with this nation being torn apart. We no longer seem to be a country that can rise above our differences and find a common ground of understanding and be able to move forward. Instead of working together, we seek to find our differences and fragment our country.
It is hard to understand what has happened to patriotism and where our love of the United States has gone.
But for a brief period last Saturday, my faith and love of the United States was restored and once again, I could smile and be proud of this country and what it has stood for in its more than 200-year history. That restoration wasn’t the result of a political speech, but rather it was by a group of singers and dancers at the Medora Musical.
Heralded as the Greatest Show in the West, the Medora Musical is just what this country needs more of right now.
For nearly two hours, while sitting in the majestic North Dakota Badlands, I returned to a happier, friendlier and more welcoming place. And it was just what I needed. Gone were my worries about either catching or spreading the coronavirus. And gone was my inability to comprehend how this nation could accept the looting and destruction in so many of our nation’s cities all in the name of social injustice.
Call me old-fashioned, but right now the rest of the United States could use a good dose of the healing medicine that the Medora Musical brings to its audience every night during the summer. If we could just bottle up the wholesome message of patriotism, love of God and the country and North Dakota that the cast of the Burning Hills Singers, which includes four North Dakotans including Watford City’s own Jena Zenz, share nightly, I’m pretty sure it would cause many people to think about whether or not they are building this country up or tearing it down.
So if you are like me and need an opportunity to escape from COVID-19 as well as the political and social unrest for at least a brief moment, you have just a few weeks left this summer to catch the Medora Musical and have your faith in this great country restored.