The Fourth of July is an awesome holiday. I like to watch stuff blow up and I love all things sparkly, so I look forward to having fireworks to show off and play with. Except this year, because we have a burn ban. I’m definitely not enough of a pyromaniac to burn things down, so I’m perfectly fine with watching the shows that the city has set up today…
But today is certainly not about the fireworks. Or the food, even though that is incredibly important…mmm, ribs…
It’s about the independence of our country. Even in fighting to be our own nation independent of England’s rule, we had soldiers who fought and lost their lives to give us freedom. There is a lot of historical detail between now and then (if you don’t know, feel free to do some research) but it all has one thing in common: I appreciate our soldiers. Unless it was my husband or child, I don’t think I could say with full confidence that I’m going to lay down my life for someone, especially a stranger. That probably makes me selfish, right? Our soldiers do this every day. They choose to put their lives in danger so that they can protect the freedoms that we take for granted.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of vacationing in Hawaii and visited Pearl Harbor. There were some WWII survivors who volunteered to be tour guides at the memorial. I noticed that some of the people were just passing them by, maybe stopping for a second to take a picture to be able to say they saw a war relic. I was drawn to one of the survivors and walked over, just to talk to him, give him a hug and tell him thank you for his service to his country. I’ll never forget Sgt. Sterling. I began talking to him and he asked where I was from. The ensuing conversation lasted for an hour and is one of my most treasured memories. It turned out we were both from TN and both had grandmothers who made homemade biscuits and knew what sorghum molasses were. I loved and truly cherished the time that I spent with Sgt. Sterling; there is something so precious about sincerely listening to an elder and their life experiences. He was just a sweet and amazing old man. Somewhere in the world, a Japanese tourist has a picture where she’s standing next to a random chick who wouldn’t stop talking to the vet…
Not just talking to this particular vet, I know a lot of them! My grandfather served in WWII. A simple man, his pride and joy was being able to wear that hat with his name and service info to all the parades. I miss him. I have a really large military family, so I understand what it means to love a soldier:
- Dad (US Navy, retired)
- Brother (US Marines, active)
- 11 Uncles (US Navy, Army, Air Force, retired)
- 1 Great Uncle (US Army, retired)
- 3 Cousins (US Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, active and retired)
- Countless friends, fraternity and sorority members (US Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, active and retired)
So on today, I just want to say a genuine and sincere THANK YOU! You are loved and appreciated far beyond political lines and personal opinions. Today, and everyday, I acknowlege your sacrifice and will support you. I will pray for you and your families. Just as we celebrate Independence Day and the soldiers who fight for our freedoms, I encourage you to remember the ultimate life that was given for our freedoms. Galatians 5:1 states that “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…” Heavenly or earthly, remember to be thankful for the life that was given for yours…because freedom has never been, nor will it ever be, free.
Make It Awesome!