Today we revel in our freedom.
Today we stand united in our patriotism.
But today as we celebrate, we must acknowledge that this freedom we celebrate has been hard fought and won on the backs of true patriots – members of the military, past and present – and their families. There is a very real cost attached to the freedom we celebrate today. It is a cost that I think we tend to forget about on a day-to-day basis as most of us in this country have always lived in the warm glow of freedom. Most of us do not understand governmental oppression first-hand. Most of us never have to be involved in the difficult choices that protect this country’s way of life – the decisions intrinsic to maintaining our freedom.
Take a moment today – somewhere between the burgers, beer, and fireworks – and remember that we owe an enduring debt to the true patriots that have defended our way of life with their lives. Many of them perished in the effort. Those that do return must live with a burden that can never be relieved and a true understanding of what is involved in a commitment to patriotism. Those who serve presently continue to show their willingness to give of themselves for America’s freedom and ideals.
The cost of freedom is great. Victory is not synonymous with ease – there is considerable effort and an incredible cost in our country’s success. The cost can be seen every day in the faces of the family members who have lost loved ones in the battle, who have struggled to help those who return from the battle, and who continue to worry that their beloved family member will return home from the battle. The cost of freedom does not begin and end with those in warfare – it is a cost that is likewise carried by families of all shapes and sizes across this country. They too have paid a price for the freedom we celebrate today.
Ensuring freedom is not for the faint of heart; indeed, those who really do ensure it do so as a function of great heart. In their actions is a deep love and respect for this country and its ideals. Those of us who enjoy the freedom without cost or worry owe a debt of gratitude that should be conveyed every day, not just today.
Thank you to all the true patriots – the brave men and women who have willingly gone to unpleasant places to do unthinkable things so that I can bask in the warm glow of freedom without worry. Thank you to all the families who have supported, mourned, struggled, and endured – the price you have paid is likewise acknowledged. Today, and every day, I am thankful for your love and commitment to country.
Day one thousand and ninety-four of the new forty – obla di obla da