Last week, I put all the small American flags and the red, white and blue pinwheels in our yard. We fly our flag each day. Today we are making plans to celebrate July 4th. Yesterday we sang patriotic songs in our worship service. I often review the posts I have written for past holidays, and as I reflect on past years, I discover that old saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." The older I become the more I realize this is true. Several years ago I wrote the post I am sharing ...a few years ago we were praying for our granddaughter as she served our country in Kuwait...today we are praying for her husband as he serves his fifth deployment some place in the Middle East. Please join me as I pray for Scott and all those serving us away from their families.
This is a copy taken from my book Just Around the Corner.
PRICE OF FREEDOM
A wooden Uncle Sam waves an American flag as he guards the corner of my neighbor’s lawn. Each corner I turn I see small symbols of America. Flags, bunting and windsocks flutter in the subtle breeze. The clang of a barbecue grill in a local back yard puts a feeding squirrel up the nearest tree.
Music floats from the sound system of a teenager’s vehicle as it stops at the four-way intersection. Childish laughter from the children down the street echoes above the edges of their newly installed pool and hovers on the surface of the neighborhood. Serene, soothing sounds of America as it prepares for another summer celebration.
July 4th is fast approaching. Here in this Edgar County, Illinois town (population 10,000) tradition is strong. Food, flags, fun and fireworks are the order of the day. First the parade, and then we flock with family and friends to the local parks for fellowship with young and old.
A great-grandmother rocks the newest baby in her arms as she applauds her grandson’s solo in the city band concert. Horseshoes clang against the iron stake. Mothers scold and fathers chat. Children chase in among the adults begging for one more cotton candy, one more goofy-golf game, one more ride in the paddle ,
The day builds as the darkness approaches. Blankets and lawn chairs start spotting the grass like beacons for the children in the early twilight. A low murmur of expectation, crying babies, and muttering parents mingles with the high pitched whine of tired children. Red stars burst on the night sky and the fireworks begin. Moans of appreciation explode from the crowd, and another 4th of July is celebrated in my home town.
Edgar County is a small spot in the American countryside, but we understand, perhaps more than some small towns, the price for freedom. Recent deaths of five of our local National Guard soldiers in Iraq gives a bittersweet gratefulness to our heritage. Beneath the surface of every Fourth of July celebration is our first-hand knowledge of the sacrifice and sadness that has made it possible. We see the veteran’s memorial on our town square and are aware of those who have given. No matter our faith, we surely must be thankful for that heritage we really don’t deserve.