I have rewritten and revised this post several times; however, I return to write something new and find this still expresses my feelings about our country. I can no longer walk as I once did, but as I read it over, I decide it is still my feeling about this country we live in and I decided to post it again. I pray you will remember the good in our country on this day when we celebrate our freedom and praise our Lord. Blessings Clella

"I urge.then. first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior."1 Timothy 2:2-6

A wooden Uncle Sam waves an American flag as he guards the corner of my neighbor’s lawn. Along my walking route, small symbols of America, flags, bunting and windsocks, flutter in the subtle breeze. The clang of a barbeque grill in a local back yard puts the feeding squirrel up the nearest tree. Music floats from the sound system of the 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 Midwest America as it prepare for the 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 boats.

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 Edgar County Illinois.

Edgar County is a small spot in the American countryside, but we understand the price for freedom. 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; we are aware of those who have given. Recent deaths of our local National Guard soldiers in Iraq gives a bittersweet gratefulness to our heritage And no matter our faith we surely must be thankful for that heritage we really don’t deserve.

Join me in prayer for those families who have given so much, and for those who are still giving so that we can walk and pray and worship with our family. Thank them and God that we can be a part of America. With all its faults people are still struggling and giving their lives that we can maintain this freedom and I am personally thankful for that effort. May God truly bless us all.