It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
-- Charles M. Province
Food for thought on this Independence Day. Democracy had a violent birth. It is no small irony that it is in no small part preserved, continually, by the vigilance and service of men and women with guns. Tremendous sacrifices have been made to ensure that all of the freedoms we enjoy, all of the things listed in this poem, have been purchased with blood, not gifted from above. We must value them in order to honor these sacrifices, and that means all of these rights, not just the ones we're comfortable with.
Think what you want of our (IMHO horrid) administration. Opine as you will on the rightness of the (IMHO incredibly ill-advised, but a thing we're now stuck with) war in Iraq. Get as torqued as you want about the (tempest in a teapot, created to fluff the conservative base Yet Again) flag burning "debate." But put your trust and faith in people who would renege on any of the rights that our soldiers have fought and died for and you dishonor their sacrifices.
My thanks go out, daily, to the men and women who serve, and whose sacrifices have given us this country. Messed up though it may be, it's still the best one around. It reminds me of another quote, clearly less austere but perhaps just as apropos:
"This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good. Yeah, still good." -- Lilo & Stitch
I think we need to remember that we're a family, here. More talking. Less yelling. And be sure to thank your brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers and grandparents who have given us the continual opportunity to screw things up or get them right.
Happy Independence Day.
Now playing: Patty Griffin, "Impossible Dream"