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I realize these are strange and unusual times, where some people are actually urging others NOT to celebrate today’s 4th of July Independence Day.
But don’t waste your breath trying to convince anyone at my house.
We celebrate it big. Every year. I’ve got two refrigerators and two freezers and I’ve been filling them up with stuff all week. I’ve got seafood. I’ve got hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken. I’ve got enough potato salad to build a small fort. I’ve got pies, cakes and enough other things to put you in a sugar coma.
I’ve also got the memories of a father serving on a destroyer in the Pacific in World War II, as well as a father-in-law being told “GO!” as his troop carrier came to a stop in the shallow waters in front of Normandy Beach on Dec. 6, 1944.
For many, many months, those two – as well as hundreds of thousands like them – did not spend their time doing Google searches and performing linguistical gymnastics in search of a phrase or statement that could be judged and condemned by today’s modern woke standards.
Instead, they picked up a gun, manned a post, and fought for our freedom, spending many a night wondering if they would be alive the next morning to face another day.
They weren’t scholars, societal experts, or even college graduates. They were scared high school kids called to serve, and they did so without reservation. They watched friends and fellow soldiers give the ultimate sacrifice, while they spent the rest of their lives doing the same bit by bit as they tried to forget all the awful things they saw. I asked them both in their final years to talk to me about what happened back then, and they still wouldn’t. It both changed - and haunted - them forever.
It’s a corny old phrase about freedom not being free, but whenever I think about them, it rings true. The Greatest Generation they were both part of and many before them made it possible for us to scream at each other with opinions we’ve derived in our own echo chamber, no matter how short-sighted they may be. Their sacrifice gave us the freedom to be who we want to be, good or bad.
So yeah, times have changed. But not my July 4th routine. Protest if you’d like, don’t celebrate anything today if you like, be whatever you wish to be today if you like.
But over at my house, I’m going to be flying the flag, eating great food all day and raising a glass to two old guys I wish were still here while being thankful that I have the freedom to do and say whatever I want to celebrate the anniversary of this great country.
You do you. But I'm going to have a great Independence Day.
Here's hoping you enjoy the same...