Today's holiday is not the same as in years past

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By Angye Morrison

In the distant past, the Fourth of July was a holiday of much fun and patriotic feelings. But the feeling of today’s Fourth is vastly different from that of yesteryear.

When I was a child, the Fourth of July was a day of barbeques, sparklers and the fireworks display at the beach. I remember the evening, when before the show I would start catching fireflies in jars with my brother and cousins. The air was thick with the sweet smells of summer nights, freshly mown lawns and night-blooming flowers. I was never fearful of war. The idea never crossed my mind nor the minds of any of my young friends.

But that has all changed now for all of us.

In the days and years after Sept. 11, 2001, the days of observation of anything patriotic have been married with war, terrorism and pain. Before 9/11, flags were a sign of a coming day spent reflecting on a relative’s days of service in a long-distant war in a distant land. The flag was a sign of hamburgers, baseball and fireworks displays where our children would “ooh” and “aah.”

Today, that has been taken from us, that feeling of peace on that special day. Today, when we put the flag up, we have no choice but to recall where we were on that sunny Tuesday morning.

This Fourth, we must eat our hamburgers and watch our baseball clearly realizing that the world suffers from war. When we look upon our flag this Fourth of July, it will be so clear in our minds that our sons and daughters are serving our country, off in some faraway land where hamburgers and baseball are not their day’s routine.

How do we do it? How do we have a fun-filled day, a day without thinking only about our children off where they are being shot at, where they are in harm’s way?

We remember that like their earlier counterparts in World War II, I and the other wars our nation has faced, they are serving so that we can have our holiday and the greatest thank you we can give them is to support them and have our day. They want to know that we think of them during that day, and every day.

But they also want us to know that they fight for the freedom to express our patriotism on the Fourth and every day before and after. This is our duty; to never allow the terrorists to take away our holidays, our love of country. They have been allowed enough, they get no more from America.

The rally cry for every peace loving American has to be “No more!” No more pain will we allow, no more anguish will we suffer at your hands.

We support our troops. We support each other. When the Fourth comes and the day begins for each of us, let us look upon our flag with love for country and each other firm in our hearts, and let the very freedoms that our forefathers gave us ring bright and true. Freedom comes with a price, but of what a worthy price it is!

True freedom is something that is always going to be tested by those who fear it. And the biggest reminder we as Americans have for this freedom is the Fourth of July. The day is steeped in heroism and in love of country. We all get to share in this history too, whether your family roots stretch back to the days when freedom was as a newborn American citizen, or back to the early 19th century. This is what makes the Fourth of July so precious. We can all share in this American holiday. All that is required of you to share is the love of country and love of freedom, and the idea that if that freedom is in any way threatened, you will do your part to fight for it.

This Fourth of July, when those wondrous fireworks are booming so loudly over your heads, and the patriotic music is playing on the speakers, remember your love of country. Do not remember the acts of the small few who hate freedom, for they can never take it away from us. Be proud of your country, your sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, sisters and husbands who serve. Be proud of yourselves. And have a wonderful day, for you are free to do so.

Editor’s Note: This opinion piece is reprinted courtesy of Associated Content, and was written by Lisa Coultrup. I thought it said it just as well, if not better, than I could.

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