Here is the backstory. My forebears were Huguenots. These Protestant followers of John Calvin were centered in Paris, where they were considered outsiders. Despite notable positions in every walk of life, after enough pressure, they moved west and became substantial on the Normandy coast of France. Despite continued prejudice they prospered in their more-concentrated community. Eventually that coast became a burden, and they pushed across the Channel back into England. There, they suffered from a new discrimination because they were considered French.
In 1635 John Bouton (pr. boo-tone)had had enough. He sailed from Gravesend, England and landed in Boston in December. I can only imagine what a winter, Atlantic crossing, in the kinds of ships of that time, must have felt like. In this new land, he was free to conduct his worship as God directed him. His quest for religious freedom had been met in the Americas. The name became “Boughton“ (pr. bow-tun) and my mother’s family was established.
In 1853, for many of the same reasons, my father‘s family came from Holland. Sjoerd Bekius left by ship, which crashed onto a rock and sank during a hurricane near the island of Grand Bahama. Through the grace of God, and with help of the people on the islands, he worked his way to the Holland Michigan area. He met Tierje Berkompas, who had arrived in 1847, and the Bekins clan was founded as they married.
My father RQ Bekins Jr and mother Doris Boughton met in junior high school in Dallas, Texas around 1931. I was conceived in Laguna Beach probably while dad trained new pilots at nearby El Toro airbase. They lived in the original Laguna Canyon ranch not far from the now Laguna Beach Art Festival. There were many stories about the F4U4s buzzing the ranch.
Through great difficulties, my progenitors came to this fantastic country. I have a sense of gratitude for their sacrifices and the grace of God which allowed me to be born in the USA with an abundance of personal freedoms. To this day, persecuted people seek its shores for a chance at a better life. We must never forget what it has taken to bring us this blessing. We should also remember our nation is one under God. Only He could have forged such a place.
Happy Fourth of July