Happy 4th of July!
Growing up this wasn't really a patriotic day for me. I don't remember (outside of school) talking about how proud I was to be an American other than wearing the red, white, and blue. It seemed more of a tradition than a symbolic presentation.
Now that I'm older, I want my son to understand why we celebrate the 4th. It's not just a day full of red, white, and blue clothes, food, and decorations along with a great fireworks display. It's a day to remember our soldiers: past, present, fallen, survivors. It's not just a family day to relax like President Obama said today. It's about our freedom.
I don't identify as a military family, but, in a way, we are.
-My Grandpa Larry (my dad's dad) was in the Army. I honestly don't know if he served, but I think he did. It just was something no one ever talked about, not like in a secretive way but just in an "it's in the past" kind of way.
-My very own Dad served in the Navy on a nuclear submarine. He was an electronic technician. I don't really know what that means, but I know he served during peace times (thankfully). These are the soldiers often forgotten because they didn't serve in a war. However, I feel they are just as important - they trained just the same and we should be thankful they didn't have a war to serve in.
-My Uncle Dean (my Dad's brother) was in the Army National Guard and has served overseas in Kosovo, Qatar, and maybe somewhere else (I've lost my memory). He's also served as a civilian overseas, too.
-My cousin Bo (Dean's son) served in Iraq through the Army National Guard.
And my present reason of military pride is my sister, Amber. She is in the Air Force. I don't know her rank or really her job (isn't that awful), but when we talk, we talk about Moose a lot and just other things in life. She is currently in Iraq (her second tour). I'm ready for her to be home!!
So for me the 4th of July is not just another day with old traditions that I'm unaware of (although I'm sure there are a lot I am unaware of), but for me, it's real and present. My sister is in a place that's not home, that's far from it, doing her job every day to serve our country. And I'm thankful for each soldier who serves his or her country for making it possible for me to live with the freedoms I enjoy.
God bless Amber and our other soldiers: past, present, fallen, and survivors. God bless America.