As a sign of enduring opposition to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's NYSAFE Act - the state's controversial 2013 gun control law - shooting sports enthusiasts, hunters across the state and people who don't want to die defenseless organized an event to draw attention to the anti-Constitutional measure.
Simple: Fire one shot in New York State on Saturday January 11, 2014 at noon. Pretty simple. And pretty loud.
The event was carefully choreographed by many of the Empire State's dedicated Second Amendment defenders - more than 100,000 participated. (Paging Andrew Cuomo.) This is one gun owner's brief heartfelt perspective of his experience with the "Shot Heard Around New York."
While I was invited to a couple of gatherings for Saturday afternoon's "Shot Heard Around New York," it was my personal choice to head down to Alfred Station. There, I have a place I call my second home where I can simply be with nature, myself, and the many memories of the people I have lost over the years who were great friends and huge hunters.
They would have loved taking part in today's events.
I also felt the need for some closure, since one of those friends never did get the chance to return to the place we've shared many a season hunting, fishing, shooting, and drinking beers. Good times, for sure. I wanted to do this for them.
So, at exactly noon, I started my process by spreading the small amount of ashes I was given by the family of my friend. I said a few prayers to the good Lord above - then I shot round after round until my rifle went silent.
In fact, it was extremely silent.
I suppose I was pretty far off the beaten path, but didn't think I was in Siberia. I chalked it up to simply not being in the right place at the right time. Regardless, I did my part, and had a chance to be with my buddy one last time. I left him in a good place for my future returns.
Things changed quickly. As I walked my way back, I heard the sound I was waiting for: a loud blast from what I had no doubt was coming from a large caliber shotgun. Then another, but from a different direction. That was followed by even more of them, one after the other after the other after the other. And another.
It was fantastic. I just stood frozen, listening to what turned out to be about 15 minutes of shots being fired from all around me. It seemed close at times; some merely echoed off the snow covered hills of the New York we love.
There was a small part of me that wasn't sure what to expect to happen today. I got more than I could have asked for, and I'm appreciative.
It took me about 30 more minutes to get back to my car. Once I sat down, I closed my eyes. I thanked God for the experience He gave to me today. I took a sip of coffee out of my Thermos, and I took the drive home with a knowing grin on my face.
I knew today was a great day.