sweet land of liberty

Happy Fourth, everyone.

As I was watching the fireworks last night in East Aurora with Andrew and his parents (and about a gazillion other people gathered at Hamlin Park in the village), I got to thinking about our country.  And freedom.  And the military.  And about all the other things I think about on Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and the Fourth.

I come from a line of military members; my father was in the Navy and both my grandfathers served in World War II.  I went into the Air Force, and while the nasty thought that “I didn’t do anything because I didn’t deploy” haunts me more than it should, I do feel a great deal of pride for my service, and theirs.

I think about how amazing our country is and how important it is to protect it.  About how young people these days don’t seem to realize that.  My heart swells with pride when announcers at festivals and baseball fields and priests and pastors in churches call out veterans and ask them to stand up and be recognized.  I think about my dad, coming home from work each day in his khaki uniform.  About his flight suit.  I think about how grateful I am that he was never truly in harms’ way (that I know of, unlike so many others then and now) and how I was too young to remember him being gone.

We were enjoying the montage of patriotic songs typically played during fireworks presentations and Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” song came on.  I leaned over to Andrew and told him that whenever I hear that song I get goosebumps.  And then I realized that other people, people who don’t have a personal connection to the military, might not have the same reaction.

(Case in point:  Before the fireworks, a couple voice clips of past presidents saying noteworthy things was played and it ended with a clip of Obama, which brought some cheering and clapping from some around us.  Yes, we are in the great DEMOCRATIC state of New York…)

Anyway, in case you aren’t familiar with the song, here are the lyrics:

American girls and American guys, will always stand up and salute.
We’ll always recognize, when we see ol’ glory flying,
There’s a lot of men dead,
So we can sleep in peace at night when we lay down our heads. 
My daddy served in the army where he lost his right eye,
But he flew a flag out in our yard ’til the day that he died.
He wanted my mother, my brother, my sister and me.
To grow up and live happy in the land of the free.

Now this nation that I love is fallin’ under attack.
A mighty sucker-punch came flying in from somewhere in the back.
Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye,
Man, we lit up your world like the fourth of July.

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly and it’s gonna be hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
And it’ll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

Instrumental break.

Oh, justice will be served and the battle will rage:
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage.
An’ you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.
‘Cos we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way.

Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly and it’s gonna be hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell.
And it’ll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you.
Ah, brought to you, courtesy of the red, white and blue.

Oh, oh.
Of the red, white and blue.
Oh, hey, oh.
Of my Red, White and Blue.

This songs makes me want to fly an F-16 over Iraq dropping bombs.  Yes, it does.

But seriously, what do people who have never personally experienced the sacrifice that comes from serving in the military (either themselves or a loved one) feel on these holidays?  Yes, I’m sure most red-blooded Americans feel some sort of gratitude for “people in the military.”  I think about this, every May, July and September (and sometimes in December, too).  I wonder if these noteworthy days are just as noteworthy to “civilians.”  They probably aren’t, and that’s OK.  Part of what makes our country great is freedom, and that includes the freedom NOT to serve in the military (something I wish were different, but that’s another blog post altogether…).

So anyway, happy fourth to all my brothers and sisters out there who wear or have worn the uniform, and their families, who know the daily sacrifices their loved ones, and they themselves, make.  And happy fourth to those who don’t know sacrifice like that; it’s because of people like me, my dad, Heather and Silas, Susy’s husband, all my ROTC classmates, and myriad others that you don’t have to.

 

2 thoughts on “sweet land of liberty

  1. Thank you Holly and every service man and woman. We went to the Airforce museum Saturday. (my first time) I was so glad we went so close to the 4th. The feelings of patriotism was running high. For me, a civilian, this is what I experience in regards to our great country, and those who serve.

    I cry, in grateful appreciation, when I hear that Toby Keith song, when I stand to honor passing veterans in a parade, when I her about a soldier who gave their live or limbs.

    I wish I could do more, for these great people who serve. We just all aren’t mentally cut out for service, but I want to serve the people as best I can.

    I thank God, that I was born here, in a place that has fought for and kept it’s basic freedoms. And I ask that He bless those who serve with his very best, and that our political leaders will be influenced by Bold and Courageous voices speaking His truth in love.

    I love to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    1. Thank you, Emily! I’m so glad to know that you (and I’m sure many people like you) truly do appreciate the true meaning behind holidays like today. I guess I’ve just never known what other people (as in those who didn’t grow up with a parent in the military) thought or felt about it. I hope you had a great day today and I can’t wait to see you!

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