July 4, 2011

The Luxury of Independence

I love the 4th of July. I love playing at the lake and having a picnic lunch. I love sidewalk chalk art contests and bouncy houses. I love grilled hamburgers and ice cold watermelon. And I love, love, love great big firework shows, the kind that you can feel in your chest and put a smile on your face and a crick in your neck.

I love this holiday but I feel like it should be more of a Thanksgiving celebration. The only reason we are able to go out and enjoy all these great activities is because of the sacrifices of thousands of men and women throughout the history of our country. I feel like our military members never get enough recognition for the things they do for us. Even if they never see battle and are never in a combat zone, even if they choose to enlist in the reserves or don't serve for a lifetime, they are still giving up many of their freedoms for our benefit. Those who protest what our troops do are only allowed to protest due to what those troops have done. I always find that ironic.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to thank all of our soldiers, both past and present, for the things that I get to enjoy every day and take completely for granted.

I'm thankful that even though I'm a woman, I am able to get a job to help support my family.

I'm thankful that I get a say in who leads this country. I'm also thankful that if I don't agree with our leaders I can say so without fear of arrest or even death.

I'm thankful that I live in a country that allows churches on every corner and I can go to any one of them that I choose.

I'm thankful that I live in a country that has easy access to clean water, grocery stores and electricity.

I'm thankful that my kids get to enjoy luxuries such as parks, dentists, pediatricians, and libraries. I'm thankful that I can choose between public school, private school or homeschool.

I'm thankful that if I decide at 11pm that I'm in the mood for Ben & Jerry's ice cream, all I have to do is drive the 6 minutes to the 24hr WalMart and I can get anything I need.

I'm thankful that I will never have to know what it's like to live in the desert or the jungle or some other foreign country far from my family and friends with no hot food, comfy clothes, shower, TV or things that remind me of home. I'm thankful I'm not living with a target on my back somewhere that I don't know the language and I'm not sure of my welcome.

I'm thankful for the men and women who have made it possible for me to live such a privileged life. This day is a celebration of all of you. Have a blessed Independence Day!

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