July 4th

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I believe I would be remiss, and less an American if I did not give pause on this sacred day of appreciation to those to whom I owe so very much of my rights and freedoms in this greatest of all countries, AMERICA!

I was 9 years of age when the news came down through the radio (had never seen a TV) that World War II had ended. I can remember the few kids and myself in the neighborhood where I lived, running up and down the dusty, dirt road in front of my grandmother’s house, beating on tin buckets with sticks we picked up.

We were celebrating, although at that young age we had not a twinkling of what it all meant. The “old folks” seemed very happy over this announcement and so we emulated them, pounded on those old tin buckets and yelled and shouted.

Little did we know that our right to pound on those old buckets came at a horrendous cost….in human life and in the torn and twisted, partial bodies of those brave men and women that were willing to sacrifice themselves for the freedom of all.

We knew nothing of the slaughter of human life on the beaches of Normandy, the brutal death march of Bataan, and all the other named and nameless places where our brave men and women died, and those who survived wondered why. We didn’t know at that time the meaning of that photograph of the raising of our American flag on that hill on Iwo Jima.

No, we were only kids, wrapped up in our own little world of trying to survive our own individual childhood problems. As the years went quickly by and we studied high school history, we began to understand, to the degree that anyone who has not been subjected to the horrors of witnessing such unimagined, bloody cruelty as war just what it all meant.

And then, after high school, military service…and we had a new and more personal understanding of the sacrifices of those before us….Flanders Field, Arlington National Cemetary, the tomb of the Unknown Soldier

And the black marble wall…the wall that made sacrifice even more real…and we are reminded that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.

I ask all of you who read this and have not yet stopped and bowed your heads in special recognition and prayer for those who gave so much, and those who are yet today, giving their all so that we might continue to enjoy the fruits of freedom, please join with me for just a few moments. Let us share together our sincere thanks to them, and to our hopes for the future of our country, united in our resolve to let freedom ring on.

 

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Be safe,

Joe Taylor

Vice President

Director of Education

RISC

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