Independence Day 2018

July 4th week is one that is really pensive. Between my husband and I, we have had family serve in the military for generations.

My husband’s family services members, clockwise from Left: his Grandpa, Dad, my husband, and his uncle
Me with my Marine

So I’m always very humbled by the sacrifice of our United States military and armed forces.

This year, I’m especially thankful for the freedoms I have in this nation; freedom of speech, which I utilize on this blog, freedom of religion, freedom from oppressive governmental regimes… The list goes on and on.

Passion flower

As a beginner homesteader, I’m especially grateful for the right to own property and to cultivate my land.

The freedom to grow my own food, my own way is a huge blessing and one I will not take for granted.

Little Miss by the wild flowers

But I’m also very thankful for my freedom to live here with my family. I’m thankful for my ancestors who came to this country and settled here so that generations down the line could enjoy the privilege of American citizenship. I’m thankful that I have that gift to pass on to my children.

I’m thankful for the freedom and ability I have to raise and educate my children according to my religious beliefs and convictions without penalty of imprisonment or death.

Although fun is good, July 4th is not a time simply for smoking ribs, playing corn-hole, or lighting fireworks.

It’s the time we take to celebrate and reflect upon the freedoms we have in this nation and the sacrifice of human life which bought us that independence. The fireworks are symbolic of the artillery that won our freedom and cost the lives of many.

Our national anthem is The Star Spangled Banner for a reason.

Complete version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” showing spelling and punctuation
from Francis Scott Key’s manuscript in the Maryland Historical Society collection.

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
‘Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

(Emphasis mine)

That is why people get so offended by desecration of the American flag. It’s not a symbol of the changing culture, or of perceived injustice; it’s the emblem of a nation that said “No” to empirical tyranny and “yes” to liberty, self-governance and freedom. And that decision cost human life.

Let us celebrate this Independence Day with somber gratitude.

… And maybe also some ribs, corn-hole, and fireworks.

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