July 4, 2019
About 18 months ago I asked my Facebook friends and family how many were themselves a veteran or active duty member of the military and how many had family members who were. Of the seventeen people who answered – there were thirty-seven people mentioned specifically, and several said that they had quite a few relatives that have served. I am the wife of a Navy Veteran (Vietnam) and the daughter of a WWII Army vet. In my extended family, there are quite a few more.
My husband and I are both readers – and we bought a book we both thought looked interesting. We inscribed it to each other for Christmas. The book we bought is called: Signing Their Lives Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed The Declaration of Independence. (Copyright 2009), published by Quirk Books, Philadelphia. It has the added benefit of a remarkable dust cover which can be opened up to give you a full-color reproduction of the Declaration of Independence. That provides good reading for this fourth of July.
June of 2019 marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings by Allied Forces as part of World War II’s Operation Overlord. If you want to read more – check this out: National WWII Museum: 75th Anniversary of D Day
There are seasons and struggles in every generation and over the decades various memories get ingrained in our minds. On June 12, 1987, the world stood amazed as our President, Ronald Reagan, spoke at the Brandenburg Gate and said famous words that all of his advisors told him not to say.
Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. . . . Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar. . . . As long as this gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. . . .
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate.
Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
Then we listened as those words echoed through the communist world and as we watched as others broke free from the iron hand of Communism. The revolutions of 1989 stretched out and we watched as Eastern Europe became free. Now we have presidential hopefuls in America urging that we become a Socialist country. We are America where people died to make us free – and now we have people wanting to yoke us to a Socialist government.
On September 11, 2001, my daughter was eight and at school. I was at work when a colleague told me to step down the hall to see the news because America was under attack. We swore as a people we would never forget. But we have largely forgotten.
The book that I started this post writing about – is an amazing story. A story of a people yoked to another nation. A people who strove to be free and live free, to be self-governing, to live without a dictator, with free speech, with free elections, with freedom to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, . . .
Today, July 4th, is our Independence Day. It was hard won and in every generation we may be called upon to fight for it again. The 4th of July is not about picnics and parades and fireworks. Those things aren’t bad – but we need to teach our children that all of our freedom has been bought by many, over many generations, at a great cost of lives lost, and shed blood. We cannot count on anyone else to teach our children. Each of us has to tell the tale of what it has cost to become free and to live free.
If you are able — take your children to Washington, DC, show them the war memorials. Show them the cost of freedom. Take them to the local cemetaries and help them to place flags on military graves. Get this book and learn about our founding. Read and re-read the Constitution of the United States of America. Teach your children. Freedom isn’t Free. It comes at a great cost.
God bless and preserve these United States of America. Amen.