Independence Day has become better known as the “Fourth of July.” No longer do we remember the purpose John Adams had in mind in 1776 when he talked about a day set aside to honor our freedom with parades, fireworks, games and all the rest. We seem to have forgotten that purpose but concentrate instead on the games, fireworks and barbeque.
Today all across this great nation, these United States in communities large and small, citizens will gather for parades, fireworks and celebration. Yet there must be time for reflection about who we are, who we’ve become and where we’re going. Some thought, some debate must be directed toward the price of freedom. This day should also be a time of reflection and mediation. Too often our freedom is taken for granted, as free as the air we breathe.
Freedom is not free.
Your freedom and mine is a personal thing, paid for with the blood of the young left on too many lost and forgotten battlefields. Unfortunately only the young men and women go to war and die. War eats the young. If the old men who sit in high places and plan wars fought the wars, there would be no more war.
Today in various countries on lost and lonely battlefields, our young men and women are standing up for America. Today some may die.
Only because these few risk their lives it is that we are free.
We are free to speak. Free to write. We’re free to do the work we choose. We are free to worship or not to worship. We’re free to assemble.
Possibly you’ve noticed that many of our freedoms are slipping away. Like the early morning mist before the rising sun freedom can disappear before our very eyes.
I’ve been to war, I’ve tasted my own fear, and I’ve revisited battlefields and cemeteries. I’ve followed the trail of too many white crosses and I know that freedom is like a fragile plant and like any living thing, it needs to be nourished to stay alive and I know unless we are careful, it can be forever lost.