In case you haven’t realized it yet, the 4th of July is on Saturday. It’s one of my favorite holidays. There is no pressure of finding the perfect present, no searching every store to find the perfect Hannah Montana wig for that rock star costume, and no spending 4 hours in the kitchen over a hot stove preparing a turkey dinner with all the trimmings that will gobbled up (pardon the pun) in 5 minutes flat then have a sink full of dishes to clean. Yes, there is the cookout consisting of hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and the ever popular rectangle cake with strawberries and blueberries carefully decorated to look like an American flag…but there is also paper plates!
The 4th of July is about celebrating our freedom, not just as individuals, but as a country. There are a lot of freedoms that we as individuals enjoy in this country. Freedom of speech. Freedom to bear arms. Freedom of choice, like the clothes we wear, no matter how tacky, or the person we marry. Freedom of religion. But for me, right now, the freedom and willingness to protect others who cannot protect themselves is even more important.
I don’t have friends or family members in the armed forces. I have grandparents who have served in wars at a time when I wasn’t born yet; but I haven’t had to experience the devastation of loosing a loved one in battle. That is something that I can’t even imagine. I know the sacrifice that the men and women who are out there fighting for those who can’t defend themselves. I understand what it means. I hurt for those families with the flag draped coffins; laying to rest their son, daughter, husband, or wife. And the mothers and fathers who have to leave their crying children behind to be deployed because they chose to do the right thing for our country. For them I am thankful. Because without them we would not have the freedoms that we take for granted today. For they protect us and keep us safe everyday. They sacrifice their lives for others. Many times they sacrifice not for Americans, but for foreigners.
Funny, I always get teary-eyed when watching fireworks displays. It could be because I am sitting downwind of the display and the sulfur-smoke is blowing in my eyes…but I think it’s because of what the fireworks represents. The pride of our country lights up the night sky for all the world to see. The cost of freedom doesn’t come cheap. But the alternative would be much more costly.
To all of the servicemen and women out there, I just want to say ‘thank you’.
Happy 4th of July America!