Thursday, July 05, 2007
Happy 4th of July
Once again I attempted to come up with something really grand and eloquent to honor and celebrate our nation’s birthday but being grand and eloquent is not one of my fortes. Instead I ended up looking on-line for something worth repeating to share to here’s what I came up with.
Don’t you just love Erma Bombeck? I do. Here’s what she said about today’s celebration.
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”
I had to laugh at this one because it sounds like so many of our family gatherings. Had I been home we would have had lots and lots of food and eaten ourselves sick. I can just taste the home made ice cream but since we didn’t have home made ice cream here, had to satisfy myself with Baskin Robbins double chocolate. The DFAC once again tried to come through for us. They set up the grills out on the plaza and barbecued hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, steaks and ribs. The ribs were the best I’ve had in a long time – tender and lots of meat on the bones. The sides were all typical DFAC sides and not really worth mentioning. The bakers made about 8-9 large sheet cakes, intricately decorated. One cake looked like the Liberty Bell and one looked like the White House. Pretty cool.
We had no parades here but there were flag raising ceremonies all day long. It was very cool to see the different units out there raising their flags to send home to family and loved ones. I raised mine last November 11, on Veteran’s Day so didn’t participate yesterday but I was tempted. Even though I’ve seen our flag flying every day you sometimes take it for granted so yesterday to watch over 100 flags, throughout the course of the day, being raised and lowered over what was once Taliban territory, was pretty cool. Did you put your flag out yesterday?
Next quote is from Thomas Jefferson,
“My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!”
OK, so how many of you out there have completely taken for granted the freedoms you enjoy? I daresay a good many of you. I don’t know too many Americans who have to worry about whether or not a roadside bomb is going to explode. A little extreme? Not for the Afghans. Well let’s go with more mundane things, things we really take for granted. When you walk into your house at night, do you every worry that there won’t be any power? In Kabul there’s no electricity after a certain hour because of power shortages. Do you every worry that when you turn on the tap to get a drink that there won’t be any water? How about clean water? Most people have to go the local well to get their water. How would you like to have to cart your water back to your house? Ever wonder how many flies and other flying insects have been crawling around on the piece of meat you bought from the butcher or how much dust has coated your newly purchased piece of meat? I didn’t think so. You simply go to the store and buy it nicely wrapped in a piece of plastic from the cooler. Here, you get to see it hanging in the market and watch the butcher cut it straight from the carcass. It’s the little things.
I like this one from Abraham Lincoln.
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”
This one made me think of all those who say we shouldn’t be here. That the cost is too high. I agree. We have paid a very high price for being here and in other parts of the world. But as I watch these people begin to embrace democracy, as I listen to the local talk about freedoms they have never had before, I realize the price is worth it.
“If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.” Hamilton Fish
What have you done lately to make our country a place truly worth living for? Did you vote in the last election? Do you get involved in your community? Or are you like me and so many others, that we simply take for granted what we have and complain when it’s not working? I’ve always said that if you don’t participate in the system you give up your right to complain about the system. Have you maintained your right to complain about the system?
As a prosecutor I’ve heard so many people complain about our system, how it’s screwed up, how corrupt our system is, how it’s this or how it’s that. It’s too bad we don’t have a system in place to simply send those people over here to see what corruption really is, to see what “screwed-up” really is. But alas we don’t. I think it was Trooper and I who had this discussion but our solution is to “butt-stroke” those folks to the head and ship ‘em over here to live for a while and then we’ll see what they have to say. But alas, not a legal or viable option, but one that sure sounds good.
So on this 4th of July, 2007, I hope that you all had a great time at your barbecues and family picnics and water fights and that you oohed and aahed at all the great fireworks. But I also hope that you took a minute to really remember what this day is celebrating. I hope you didn’t forget the freedoms that you have and what I and so many others like me have done for you. I know I will never celebrate another 4th of July without looking back on this deployment and realizing what it has done for me and my family.