Monday, July 1, 2013
There are certain words that evoke deep feelings - that stir our emotions. They can bring a rush of memories or a flood of tears. Freedom is one of those words. Listening to the Star Spangled Banner never fails to bring tears and immense gratitude for those brave souls who gave their all to establish this wonderful country of America, free from the tyranny of an unrighteous, unsympathetic king. My dad served in the Navy during WWII. How proud of him I was when he wore his uniform. I remember the ration coupons he traded...we had several children who needed shoes. He traded his tire coupons for shoe coupons with a couple who had no children. I remember blackout curtains - every night we heavy black velvet curtains so the Japanese couldn't see our lights and find us if they flew over with their bombs. I remember the day every bell and whistle went off outside Farragut Naval Base in Idaho - the war was over!! Fire and police sirens, church bells, people banging on pots and pans signalling celebration of the first kind! We won the war!! Freedom was sweet, not just for us, but for all those who had been freed from the tyranny of the Germans and Japanese who tried to conquer the world. I was in the third grade and this made a huge impression on me. My husband received his commission in the Air Force when he graduated from Utah State and we embarked on 25 years of military service. It was not a sacrifice to have him gone seven days sitting nuclear alert - ready to fly away at the push of the red button. Freedom seemed very precious during the cold war. Russia and China loomed as incredibly awesome enemies, but freedom prevailed, thanks to all those families who waved good-bye to husband, brothers, fathers and sons, and not a few women who stood on that line and held it against encroachment by our enemies. I am saddened by the number of the newer generations who do not value Freedom - who do not salute the flag, who do not even stand when it goes by in a parade. Who failed to teach them that freedom is precious? Why did they never learn that freedom isn't forever unless we appreciate it, and protect it, and cherish all that it gives us? I, for one, will be lining my driveway with flags this week, will cry when I hear the national anthem, and will be sure that my grandchildren know and appreciate all that is required to keep that beautiful flag flying over the land of the free and the home of the brave.