Buckhannon native Michael George enjoys telling the stories of what went into the founding of America, and he now has found new stories of what makes this country great.
His book, "My Story of America: Inspirational Stories of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness," features the tales of people he has met in his travels across the country. It is laid out according to the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner.
"There are stories from all over the nation," George said. "They are just ordinary citizens who say they are nothing special. But that's what makes up the fabric of America. What makes America great is ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Wickline
Michael George shows off his new book, ‘My Story of America: Inspirational Stories of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’
"When you look at the history of our country, you have people standing up to create a new nation," he added. "During times of struggle, we say, 'We are willing to stand up and fight to protect this liberty and freedom, and we need God's help.'"
George spent the better part of the summer traveling coast to coast to promote the book. He said once people learn of the book, the compelling stories will bring them to the book stores.
"I know there will be no problem with people wanting to read the book because the stories draw you in," he said. "The challenge of any book is getting it known nationwide."
George will spend Sept. 11 promoting the book in Buckhannon, signing copies of it at the Walmart from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be the culmination of a nearly yearlong process.
"About November of last year, I just got the idea," he said. "We are constantly hearing all kinds of negative things about the United States. I travel all over the country, and I hear all of these stories. I thought it would be great if people knew about these stories of the people I've met."
One of those persons was Sonya, who was forced to join the Hitler Youth as a youngster in Germany. She embraced the organization and quickly rose through the ranks. But as she got older, her father took her aside and explained the atrocities being committed by the Hitler regime. That led her to quickly accept why Allied forces were dropping bombs on her family and friends.
"She would tell you that freedom and liberty were more important than the things she had," George said. "Today she will tell you that she is 150 percent American."
The conclusion to that story has George quickly and poignantly asking the question: "When did our country get away from just being Americans?" He said today there are too many hyphenated labels dividing the country. He said those living during the Civil War never tagged themselves with such labels as "Virginia-Americans."
"This book brings unification," he said. "It's great to have pride in where you are from. It's great to have pride in our heritage. But when it comes to country, put aside all of the prejudices and just be Americans. This is a book to unify. It's a wake-up call."
George said he opted to write a book with touching stories instead of one more critical of the nation's direction.
"Regardless of where you are politically, you will enjoy these stories," he said. "It makes you realize and cherish what we have in America. The stories are thought-provoking. It is a feel-good book, but it is thought-provoking. I wanted to write a book where you are listening to people share their life.
"If you have ever sat in a church or at a school," he continued, "whenever the teacher or preacher would stop and begin sharing a story, people listen. They remember the story because it impacted them. Stories impact us more than somebody standing up there telling us facts and figures."
The book will also be available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The E-book is $10, and a paperback version goes for $15. The hardback version sells for $20. The book can also be purchased at mystoryofamerica.com.