The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


June 28, 2011

Remember freedoms this July Fourth

Do you appreciate your freedoms and the price paid for them? Think about it.

With Independence Day in a few days, I hope we will pause and value our freedoms more than ever. We appreciate the men who fought for our freedom from England. Every generation that has truly progressed has had to fight a war of some kind. It is almost like we have to get out and fight a war or have a cause before freedom becomes real to us.

I am not sure any of us who live in The United States of America truly appreciate our freedoms like we should. It is so easy to take them for granted. Does anyplace else in the whole wide world enjoy freedoms of speech, religion and choice as we do? These freedoms are common to us.

I am reminded daily of the price of freedom when I talk to and enjoy the company of my husband, Jim, who is a veteran of World War II, and was injured at Iwo Jima.

I have never heard Jim say one unkind thing about that war, nor the price he paid by being injured at Iwo Jima. He is a Marine first and always, and is so proud of his country and what it means. He is one of those special people who can be tough, yet gentle, in pain but not complaining. He taught me about life and living and appreciating what we have, no matter how humble.

Jim has taught me punctuality, concern for others, pride of self, appreciation of life and love for our fellow men. He truly cherished  his freedoms and the price paid for them. On our recent trip to Washington, D.C., he was reminded again of the high price paid by many (most) of his buddies. We must never forget the sacrifice of  their lives. The same goes for any war our men and women have fought in. Wars are always about protecting us and fighting for our freedoms.

In the song, “America the Beautiful,” I love the verse about loving country more than self. This could have been written by Jim. We have to love our country more than any personal gain for ourselves, for this country to prosper and be truly free.

Every generation has fought for all the freedoms we enjoy. For centuries, people have had to fight for the things they love. Let  us never take those freedoms for granted. Let us continue to appreciate and fight for what we believe is right. It may only be when our freedom of religion is taken from us that we will cherish the right to go to the church of our choice and worship as we please.

It may be only after our political freedoms are destroyed that we begin to realize the importance of our right to vote for the person we want, or don’t want. We can cast our ballot  without fear of being shot or abused. That freedom of choice, democracy, is very important, and must never be taken for granted. Let freedom ring!

Freedom of speech is truly an important right. It touches everything we say and do, and affects us every day. However, my rights end where the next person’s rights begin. We seem to have taken even that freedom to extremes by allowing a few to decide what they think everyone wants. They stand up for their beliefs. Do we?

Freedom is an extended self-love, mingling with all the enjoyments of life. In the laws of our society, we don’t see the force and terror, but the image of our country’s honor. Every good citizen makes that honor his own and cherishes it as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense, and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.

We will be celebrating the birth of our country in a few days. Will we stop and think about the price paid for our freedoms? Will we even think of our freedoms? Will we grasp their value? Will we teach them to our children? Will we thank God we live in this wonderful country?

Too often we celebrate July 4  merely because we have three days off. We fail to value the significance of our freedoms, of living in this democratic country where we are protected and valued. We are more concerned about our barbecue burning than we are our country being destroyed. We are more interested in what we drink than we are in the floods and storms that destroy our land. If we do discuss our liberty, we fail to give credit to those who protect our freedoms. This wonderful poem written in tribute to our veterans says it all:

“It is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

“It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

“It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

“It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.

“It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has give us the right to a fair trial.

“It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.”

As we gather around our picnic tables or backyard cookouts this Independence Day, we need to take time to count our many blessings and freedoms. They are too numerous to mention here.

And enjoy this wonderful cake given to us by our Margaret at Dr. Nick’s office. We miss her.

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