“I am proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died and gave that right to me. And I’ll gladly stand up, next to you, and defend her still today. But there ain’t no doubt I love this land. God bless the U.S.A.”
The first time I heard that song was when Kristy Lee Cook sang it on American Idol in 2008. (Watch the video of her performance here.) I was 13. It gave me chills, I have never been that emotionally moved by a song sung on American Idol before. However, the words really didn’t mean that much to me.
My home church does an ENORMOUS 4th of July celebration every year. We had never been before, but in 2010, unfortunately the last year they did it, I happened to be in the choir that sang during the fireworks show. I had a fun rehearsing the patriotic songs we would be singing. It was a blast to take part in. I am so thankful I had that opportunity. At one point, they had each of the different branches of the military stand, active duty and veteran. Again, it really didn’t mean anything to me.
To be honest, I have always been fairly patriotic, but never really thought or cared much about our service men and women. Only recently has that changed.
During the last two years we have become friends with a family with three boys, one Army veteran, one in active duty Army, and one who was enlisted into the Army. I didn’t know the older two sons very well, but the common obsession with horses grew a general friendship between me and the youngest son. I also am really close to his momma. Because I knew that he’d be leaving soon, I kind of grew an interest in all things military. (Not an obsession yet, but pretty close. 😉) I have become extremely patriotic through all of it. I honestly get chills walking past a man (or woman) in uniform in the airport. Once you know someone in the Army, it suddenly becomes very real. Especially, watching his family deal with his absence now. You realize, that these men and women put their life on the line and go through a lot of hard work, with families at home, simply to protect our freedom. What a gift this is! Why don’t we ever take the time to thank them in person? (I must admit, I have a hard time going up to people, so I am guilty of this too.) It really means a lot to them to be thanked. Being in the military takes a toll on them, physically and mentally. They have given up a lot. For you.
So, I want to thank you, men and women, of all military branches, for putting your lives on the line, for us, for our freedom. I am praying for you and your families. 🇺🇸