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A New Kind of 4th of July

I’m sitting here typing with the taste of the wine and homemade pizza still on my tongue. Tomorrow is the 4th of July, which means we both have the day off, which also means that tonight we can relax in lieu of a hopeful late start tomorrow morning. 
Patriotic holidays strike me so much harder these days, for very obvious reasons, and oddly enough we just finished watching a movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis. But as I sit here, my heart doesn’t feel swollen with the pride of my country, and I can’t say that the tears that formed as I watched an airman fall from the sky in the movie were from an immense emotional reaction to the truth that makes our country so great. I do love our country, and thank God every day for the vast freedoms I get to enjoy for a price that I’ve hardly paid.
The thing is, my truth, and the reason these patriotic events hit feel so close, is because we are involved. 
Every day I watch my husband put on a uniform, piece by meticulous piece. I observe him following very precise protocol, extending respect to his superiors who have, and do, work hard every day to earn their status. I wake to the tune of reveille and fall asleep to the somber sound of taps. When emergency struck near to us this week, my husband took an active part in the recovery efforts. And one day, within the very near future, I know he will leave my side to serve his country in some far off place I’ve never seen.
Tears form at the sight of a flag ceremony, or a fly-over, because to me, this is now my reality. My husband, and as a result, our family, now belongs to the United States Air Force. We see first hand what is given to protect the rights that until now we most certainly took for granted. 
To me, pride in my country starts at home. I’m so so proud of my Husband. I’m proud of the office he works in and the amazing men and women who submit themselves to the craziness of military life, because for them it is a calling. I’m proud of the men and women I see doing everything they can to keep this base, and more importantly, this country functioning and safe. I’m proud of the strength that has characterized those who have lead us throughout the years and made us a superpower in the world today.
I’m proud that on some level I’m able to contribute to that greatness.
Sure the 4th of July is a celebration of the memory of our freedom, but in our house it’s also a very real present. Regardless of your political views, your love or hate for those leading this country, your love or hate for the war/economy/healthcare reform/marital rights/etc…today isn’t really about those things. Today is about those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that you could have those opinions. It’s about our fellow Americans that are willing to put their lives on the line to protect that privilege. It’s about the fact that as a country we did stand for something we believed in, and we fought tooth and nail to get it. You don’t have to celebrate the President, or his leading men, but celebrate the unnamed. Celebrate that for most of us, on this day we are free to do whatever we want. Celebrate freedom, and all of it’s many wonderful blessings, and the amazing individuals that made it possible.
Happy 4th to you all! Stay safe and God Bless America!

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