I meant to write a post to publish yesterday - 4th of July, but life got in the way. I had a very busy weekend at the farmer's market, tractor show, and a friend's house. Then on Monday we decided to join my sister, her hubby, and the baby to go see my grandpa who was diagnosed with cancer last week. It was a long drive up to Oregon, but I am glad that we got to see him and he got to meet the baby for the first time. It was really hard, sad, and emotional to see him like that but I am glad we went. So, if you could just pretend that it is yesterday for me that would be great - thanks!
I love 4th of July! I love seeing people wearing red, white, and blue. I love seeing our flag proudly displayed on houses and along walkways. I love eating BBQ and enjoying the company of family and friends. I am very patriotic and love seeing everyone else patriotic too. I love this country and am both proud and luck to be an American.
I found a book at my dad's house a few weeks ago "Memories from the Front" was the title and my grandpa and his twin brother were the authors. I had never seen this book or heard about it before so I borrowed it. My grandpa and his twin both had a way with words. When they spoke people listened. They had the same voice - calm, steady, trustworthy - they had a voice that put me at ease and made we want to listen to it (and their stories) forever. My grandpa died 5 years ago and his twin (my Uncle John) died a few months ago. But, as I read the book it was like they were sitting next to me reading it to me.
My other grandpa (my mom's dad who we visited yesterday) was also in WWII. He doesn't really talk about it either but he says he had it easy. As far as I know he was not on the front lines and was a mechanic - I think he fixed planes. I wish I knew his story.
I have never experienced loss of freedom or anything like both of my grandpas, my uncle, or my dad but I have experienced the sadness and horror of hearing what happened to them. I will never take my freedom for granted because I know what they had to do in order for me to be living here and free. They were all drafted and had horrible experiences yet would do it again.
I work with an immigrant population and some refuse to say the pledge. When they ask me why we say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning I tell them that people have died for their right to be in this classroom. People have died so they could play on the playground without being scared. When they ask me what it means to say the Pledge I tell them that we say it to thank the people who have fought in our honor and to say that we are thankful to live in a country where we are free to be us.
As you are eating your BBQ and watching the fireworks this evening (or remembering it from yesterday) please remember that freedom is not free. Our country has paid a huge cost both in casualties and memories of veterans who lived to tell about. There are still so many young men and women out there fighting for our continued freedom and I am very thankful to them (included my freind's little brother - thanks Guy, you have turned out to be a great young man) as well!
Happy fourth of July! I would love to hear what made you appreciate your freedom.