Tuesday, July 5, 2011


My youngest daughter and her husband took all the immediate grandkids with them and visited a local amusement park yesterday, staying late enough to witness the fireworks. My oldest girl and her hubby saw a rare opportunity for simply enjoying each other’s company and escaped to some secretly determined destination for their own holiday celebration. The neighbors in all directions, of course, began blowing up the vicinity Friday evening, the final explosions last night sounding like the Civil War was yet being fought from either side of the nearby creek. For me, the event is more a thought process than it is anything else, a remembering of how this nation was founded, an examination of our history, all that has happened along the way, and a consideration of where we stand now in testimony of the blood shed defending our right to govern ourselves. Freedom doesn’t mean unity. It, in fact, suggests the very opposite and, indeed, is defined by our diversity as a people. We are not one in our culture, in our environment, nor in our religious beliefs; but in our “country”, in our “bond as a band of brothers”, we come together as family, working out our differences even if the process isn’t always pretty. While picnics and programs, sparklers, roman candles, and rockets bursting in air…are nice, all this old man needs, then, is to see our flag. It speaks to me of Omaha Beach, Guadalcanal, and my father in the mountains of Italy. It reunites me with old navy buddies, duty stations, and experiences shared. I’ve saluted it on a small island in the Bering Strait, on a parade ground beside the chow hall in Monterey, and aboard ship in the Mediterranean. It matters not the occasion, a grandson’s basketball game or pledging allegiance with the kids at school, my heart is in it and a tear almost always forms in my eye. The Cross, alone, stands above it.....

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