How many of you remember school days when you pledged allegiance to the United States of America?
I appreciate the teachers who taught me those words and the principals who, every morning over the loud speaker, led us in the pledge. Their repetition instilled in me a love for country and the flag which symbolizes our freedom. Patriotism is passed from generation to generation.
My daddy passed on love-of-country to me. He was a World War II Army Air Corps pilot; he flew supplies to infantrymen and evacuated wounded soldiers. Daddy's burial in Arlington National Cemetery is a high honor.
A childhood friend's father suffered terribly from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following his service in Korea. Their apartment was kept dark, and we could not make loud noises when we played there.
Young men, just a few years older than I was, were drafted to fight in Viet Nam.
Nearly twenty years ago, my good friend lost her physician-husband, a reservist, in Operation Desert Storm; I watched as she raised her two children alone. A flag always flies at her home. (Thank you, PJ, Meggan, and Peter for your sacrifice.)
The story is repeated today. Just this spring, my brother-in-law's niece became a single mother-to-be, when her Navy Seal husband died following surgery to repair injuries sustained in Iraq. Leah will never meet her father on earth. (Thank you, Kelly, for your gift to all of us.)
Liberty is never free, nor is it universal. For six years, we lived in a country where citizens were shot lining up to vote. On this national holiday celebrating our freedom, let us thank the Lord we can worship, speak, and gather freely.
Furthermore, let us pledge to teach the next generation to value liberty. To instill thankfulness for freedom, here are some simple decorating ideas:
Happy Fourth of July!