4th of July

The Fourth of July is the day that we as Americans celebrate our independence.  And while it’s come to be a holiday that usually means fireworks, cookouts and time spent with family, we must never forget who we have to thank for that freedom to rest and relax: The troops.

America’s independence was achieved and continues to be maintained by the brave men and women who volunteer for the armed forces.  When they step up and put on a uniform, they put themselves in harm’s way…risking the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I can live a quality of life that is the envy of the entire world.

I can remember a time in this country when a word like “patriotism” got people rolling their eyes at you, treating a love for your country as an outdated, nostalgic notion.  Sadly, it took a tragedy like the 9-11 attacks to remind us of what our parents and grandparents knew far better and never forgot:  Our nation is rare and precious because of that, she is also vulnerable and must be protected and loved.  We cannot afford to be indifferent or complacent because our enemies see our restraint and compassion as a weakness-we have been challenged once again, and I’m proud to say that America continues to stand tall.

Since the 9-11 attacks, we as a nation have new-found respect for our men and women in uniform…I’m just sorry it took such a vicious wake-up call to remind us what we should keep in our hearts and minds all along.  Other nations need to make military service mandatory-in this country, we stand as the world’s lone superpower because those with the right stuff stand up and choose to carry a gun and stand a post.  We have the most powerful military on the planet and it’s not because of weapons and technology-it’s due to the character and commitmet of our fighting men and women.  A gun isn’t noble, brave or courageous…but the American carrying it is.

Let us not forget that we are at nation at war-some of those fights have been declared (like the struggle in Iraq and Afghanistan), and some are happening more subtly, as with the growing threat of Iran and rogue terrorist states the world over.  No one hates war more than a soldier-just ask one.  But at the same time, no one knows better than a soldier that sometimes a fight is what’s needed to save lives in the long run.

Yes, July 4th we celebrate our independence, so let’s take special time today to think of those in uniform both here and abroad.  It’s the least we can do for those who selflessly give the most.  We are who we are because of them, and I for one am eternally grateful.