07/05/09 — Grand old flag: It is -- still -- all about freedom

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Grand old flag: It is -- still -- all about freedom

Holidays lose their true significance pretty quickly these days.

So, for some of those who gathered to watch the fireworks this weekend in Wayne County, the real meaning behind the booms and bursts might not have been quite so easy to remember.

They probably have forgotten the story of the first "fireworks" in defense of a new flag and a fledgling country's struggle to be free.

They might even miss the significance of a day hundreds of years ago when patriots took arms and left their families and friends to fight for a country that was still pretty much nothing more than an ideal.

They might have forgotten the Declaration of Independence and a few years later, the Constitution.

They were there for the fun and fellowship -- not necessarily the celebration of freedom.

For those stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and those who are retired from their own service in the Air Force or other branch of the armed services, the significance behind the bursts of color was more easy to understand.

Those bursts meant freedom -- and the sacrifices today and yesterday of men and women who fought for their country and for the freedom of others around the world.

And thousands of miles away, across a couple of oceans, U.S. military personnel paused, too, from their daily duties and missions.

They used Saturday to remember not only that they are proud to be Americans, but also that their service matters not only to those whom they have left back home, but to the millions of others still struggling to be free.

The Fourth of July is an old holiday -- and one that brings together families and friends.

But as we mark the weekend of celebrations, we should also take the time to think about what that red, white and blue flag really means -- and the sacrifices behind it.

Freedom has not been free for hundreds of years -- and will remain costly for years to come.

Every Fourth of July is our chance to thank those who protect it -- and to promise, again, to honor it.

Published in Editorials on July 5, 2009 12:02 AM