07/02/05 — Countless sacrifices make our celebrations possible

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Countless sacrifices make our celebrations possible

Monday will be a day when Americans will pull out the grill, don a swimsuit and sit back and enjoy an extra day off from work.

They will probably enjoy fireworks at the beach or simply a few sparklers in the yard.

That is what you do on Fourth of July weekend.

But in the background, there will be a story about a flag and what it meant to a group of patriots who yearned to be free.

There will be a playing of the national anthem accompanied by bursts of red, white and blue — a reminder of the birth of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and what it meant to a fledgling nation, and what it still should mean today.

And that, really, is what this weekend should be about.

We are able to enjoy the freedoms of this nation because of the sacrifices of others before us. There was that handful of patriots then who gathered themselves together against incredible odds to earn the right to call this country the United States of America, and there are the thousands of veterans now who have given their lives to keep it free.

And then there are those who are serving their country this holiday weekend, thousands of miles away, in another part of the world, making sure that a formerly oppressed people have the same chance offered to us all those years ago.

The Fourth of July is a family holiday that offers us all a chance to slow down and appreciate the most important parts of our lives. As we think about those values, it would not hurt to remember the reason we are still able to enjoy them today.

So, fly the flag and put your hand on your heart this weekend.
This is our time to celebrate being Americans, and to appreciate just exactly what that designation really means.

Published in Editorials on July 2, 2005 11:18 PM