I love everything about the 4th of July. I love waking up in the morning and waiting over 2 hours, just so I can have my spot for the parade. I love the military presenting the flag and watching as the crowd stands in a wave, placing their hand over their hearts. I love watching my kids excitement in catching the candy being thrown. I love running into old friends, that have come home for the holiday. I love being with my family, having a BBQ and spending the day laughing. I love watching all the men in the family turn into children, when they get a chance to light off the fireworks. I love laying on my old high school's lawn, cuddled with my kids in a blanket, underneath a sky blanketed with the annual fireworks show. I love carrying my exhausted children to their beds, sticky with melted popsicles, still clutching their glow-in-the-dark necklaces.
This year, my eyes saw things a little differently, as I discussed the holiday with a very good friend of mine, who is in the military. He does not share my enthusiasm of this holiday, much to my disappointment. Unfortunately, all year, he is forced to deal with the
He feels, as he rightly should, that Americans should be patriotic all year, not just on this one day. While I completely agree, I tried to gently remind him that humans, are but mere humans, and sometimes it takes a reminder for us to not take everything we have, for granted.
While I love the 4th of July and it really is my day to honor the men and women that sacrifice for me, there is a lot that I do all year. There are many ways that I remember, that maybe isn't as obvious as the flags I hang up. I remember every time I see a fallen service hero on TV and say a prayer for his family. I remember every time I properly salute the flag and teach my children to do the same. I remember every time I say the "Pledge of Allegiance" and giggle as my 3 year old struggles over the words. I remember every time I see someone in their military uniform and point them out to my children to explain why they are so important. I remember every time my grandfather talks about his service time and I sit in amazement at his stories. (Yes, Pepe, I truly love your stories!) I remember every time a see a serviceman with his family and look at his wife and recognize her courage. I remember when I see his children and my heart cries for them, knowing that too many hours, days and months are spent apart from their parent.
So, in closing, THANK YOU, to the men (and women, of course!) that have given their lives to our country. THANK YOU to the service of prior generations...Pepe, Uncle David and Uncle Paul, this means you! THANK YOU to the men currently serving our country.
My friend, know that I love you and appreciate all that you do. Recognize all the many ways that I show it through out the year and focus less on those people, that speak without thinking. These people do not make up the majority of Americans. If you looked around, you would realize there are far more "me" than "them." So, Happy 4th of July. Again, THANK YOU for what you do every day. I know the sacrifices you make and I will forever be grateful for them.