The 4th is a favorite around here. We don't do anything spectacular, but we did bar-b-que, watch "The Music Man" and go to see the fireworks. This year's show was different, because they didn't play all of the patriotic music I am used to, like the 1812 Overture.
I missed it. Right up till the end.
The last song they played for the finale was "Proud to be an American".
As soon as the chorus started, a swell of voices came up from the crowd,
and everyone around me was singing.
"I'm proud to be an America, where at least I know I'm free
and I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me."
Tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened. I thought of the first Sunday after 9-11 when I heard that song with different ears. I thought of our friends, the Roberts, whose son Derek died in Iraq 4 years ago.
I thought of all the brave men and women who have stood up for what is right in the face of tyranny and death since the first weary sea-farers tumbled onto the shores of freedom.
I know our county's history has it's dark corners. I know that not every choice has been made in the name of a righteous cause. But I also know, having lived in another country, what a rare and precious thing the freedom we enjoy here truly is. We are blessed so much, we sometimes forget what it took to get us here.
I am grateful to God that he saw fit to guide brave men to follow the convictions of their hearts to establish this country, and though I could have been born anywhere, I got to come here where:
there is enough to feed my children
my girls can be educated
I can speak freely
my family is protected
my husband can earn a living that allows me to stay home to raise our children
I can worship God
and I am even allowed to have chickens in my backyard if I want to
(ok, maybe that is not uniquely American, but the law just changed here and I am excited
... pictures to come!).