My holiday weekend was spent in the great state of Alabama near Ft. Benning Army base. Celebrating our American Day of Freedom near one of the largest military bases in the US was refreshing and reflective. Since 9/11, our 4th of July celebrations have had a bit more meaning, but in the last couple of years, we've went back to the status quo celebrations of fireworks, cookouts, and ho hum-ness.
My friends who live in Alabama are not active military, but are working in positions that support our troops at that base. As part of my visit, I attended a sweet little church that had a simple, yet moving worship service. One of their older members shared her testimony of the meaning of American citizenship. You see, she was born a Czech citizen. As this sweet lady shared her testimony I was reminded of my free birth into this country. Then, a chaplain from Ft. Benning shared his testimony of his service in Desert Storm and Afghanistan as he prepares to be deployed to Iraq in the very near future. Hearing these stories, being in a town where almost everyone is touched by the activities at Ft Benning, and realizing how blessed I am truly made me very thankful for the freedom I have.
It really made me a bit frustrated that we as Americans are chastising the war and President Bush's efforts to address terrorism. In the Ft Benning area, local television stations report the real feed from the front lines - and more positive than negative. Soldiers are fighting every second to protect us and provide freedom. More than 5 million children now attend school in Afgahnistan - 40 percent of those are women. We take for granted that our children, male and female, can go to school free of charge without barrier. There is good going on, but you gotta dig for a media outlet that will show it.
Thousands of young men and women are sacrificing their lives for my freedom - while I complain about high gas prices and not getting my food fast enough at the restaurant. We as Americans aren't having to sacrifice much at all - if anything. The recent bombings in London bring all the memories of 9/11 back - how quickly we forget that loss amidst our own selfish wants. How thankful I am that I have a country so free that I am allowed to blog my thoughts freely (literally and figuratively) at any moment of the day without censor. God Bless the USA.