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Originally posted by Justin Oldham
As I write this, it is July 4 of 2006. Americans around the world are celebrating Independence Day. On this date in 1779, our founding Fathers announced to the world that America would be its own nation. We, as a people, asserted our will to be a free and self-determining nation of equals.
At the time we declared our independence, our future was uncertain. Enemies threatened us on every boarder. Nations that could've been friendly to us hesitated to help us in our hour of need. Our armies were fully committed, and it looked like our best leaders were making too many mistakes. On the streets, gossip said were doomed. World opinion was not with us.
As we take a moment to give thanks for the sacrificed of past generations, we should also pause to consider that today's hardships aren't that much different than those faced by the Americans of 1776. then, as now, we are called on to defend our freedoms with words and deeds. We are asked to do things that aren't popular, comfortable, or easy.
As we revel in our holiday fun, some of us will be sunburned because of too much fun. It's worth remembering that some of us will be sunburned in faraway places so that Americans at home can barbecue without fear. A few of us will swat mosquitos as we picnic. Others will suffer bugbites on faraway shores so that the rest of us can sleep easily tonight. Some of those sunburned and bug infested people will die while we sleep, and they'll do it gladly to protect the rest of us.
As we reach for another hot dog, somebody else in Iraq or Afghanistan is reaching for another weapon. They might be fighting on an empty stomach, with a burning thirst in their mouth. Let's try to remember that as we reach for another glass of iced tea. Today is Independence Day, and no mater what you may think about the political situation, the fact is that you are being free.
2006 and 1779 have one thing in common. All of us are relying on a small number of men and women to keep us safe. Like the Continental who fought under the command of George Washington, we're asking today's soldiers to be heros for a poor man's pay. We're asking them to suffer what we could not. We're asking them to do what we would not. The very least we can do is show some gratitude for what they have given us.