When I see our beloved flag, I think of all the men who have fought for our freedom. The soldiers in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan have risked their lives so freedom could be preserved. We have troops in other areas, as well. These men have left their wives, children, and families to serve their country.
When arrogant football players refuse to stand and honor the flag, my heart breaks because they don’t appreciate what the soldiers of the past and the soldiers of the present have done for our freedom.
My neighbor, Roosevelt Gubler, was a soldier in World War II. Every morning he would walk outside and look up at the flag that waved in his front yard. He would straighten his shoulders and salute the flag. Every year at church, in celebration of Independence Day, he would quote The Ragged Old Flag from memory, which brought tears to many eyes. He passed away a few years ago, but I will always remember him. He served his country with honor.
Freedom is the most precious gift given to man. It isn’t free, but it’s fought for. Have you ever wondered why tears so freely come to our eyes when we hear the Star Spangled Banner or see our flag waving in the distance? Why do we value our freedom and hold it so close to our hearts?
When we pledge allegiance to our flag, what does that mean to us? Do we take our freedom for granted? Many countries have no rights and are not at liberty to say what they feel or to worship as they please. In some countries, Christianity cannot be preached among the people. Newspapers, media, and even the Internet are all government controlled. Do we understand the freedom we possess? Do you appreciate the patriots who fought for the liberty we enjoy?
On July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the “Declaration of Independence.” This document inspired every patriot to fight for his liberty. As General George Washington stood before the Continental Army with the document in his hand, he took a look at the weary men before him. These underfed men were a sight. Washington knew his men needed to be inspired and this document would do the trick.
As he read the declaration out loud, not a sound was heard as the men listened. Their hearts were touched when he read: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
As these patriots listened, they were buoyed up and ready to fight for their freedom. No one could stop the need they felt for liberty. The Declaration of Independence was inspired of God. These brave patriots hungered for freedom of choice, for their rights, and to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience. The patriots fought with every fiber of strength they had, both bond and free.
Many of these patriots were willing to die for freedom. Nathan Hale, a 23-year-old artist and schoolteacher, felt the conviction of his beliefs so strongly that he agreed to go on a dangerous mission for George Washington. He was caught with sketches of British gun emplacements and the penalty for being a spy was to be hanged. As he marched up the steps of the gallows, he held his head high. When he turned to face the people, he declared boldly, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
The patriots knew the value of freedom and were willing to pay the price. Most of the victories in the south came from Colonial Francis Marion and his men. Francis Marion knew how to deal with the enemy in his own homeland. He was known as the Swamp Fox and had the slyest fighting command in the whole revolution. He had trained his men to disappear into the thick forest and swamps of South Carolina without a sound. Hidden from sight, they would strike and then quickly move through the woods like silent shadows, fading into the forest and undergrowth. Francis Marion and his men tormented the British army with one ambush after another. This frustrated the British officers because they were helpless in the woods and swamps.
After eight long years, the Americans beat the greatest military power in the world. Many patriots paid for this freedom with their lives and we should be grateful to those who fought for this liberty. We are a great nation with ancestors who fought to be free.
Show your appreciation for your freedom! Respect the flag! Honor those who have served and fought to preserve your liberty! Take time to thank a soldier for his service!