Man hopes passers-by see sign and remember freedom's price
By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 2, 2010 1:46 PM
Paul King stands in front of the sign he put up for his church -- First Assembly of God -- in honor of the Fourth of July weekend.
Paul King's voice trembles with emotion when he recalls how his pastor relates the time that he had to tell an Air Force wife her husband had just died in Iraq.
"And it was his daughter's first birthday," said King, who attends First Assembly of God. "So many people don't understand that. Our freedom comes at a price. It is not free. People have shed their blood. They died so we can we enjoy the things that so many of us take for granted."
That is the reason King decided on a simple message for the church sign for the Fourth of July: "Don't take your freedom for granted, people bled and died so you can have it."
"Whenever people realize it is more than just shooting fireworks and having a good time," he said. "This country, we are free right now, but if you look at the news and you look at other nations and you look at our country, we are going downhill rapidly. We'd better wake up or we will find ourselves in some of the same mess those other countries are in."
King said that while he never served in the military, he has many relatives, friends and fellow church members who have.
"I have been praying all week what to do for the Fourth, what would touch people," he said. "This morning, as I was sitting at the table doing my devotion, my wife was on the Internet looking up Fourth of July sayings and I said, 'That just doesn't sound right. So I just sat down and started penning that.'
The sign is located on the service road that runs in front of the church that is located just off U.S. 70 just east of Berkeley Boulevard.
"I attend here and my wife is an associate," King said "I help out with routine maintenance around the church and different things. I just started taking care of the church sign. I try not to put a lot of Biblical stuff because people in church understand that. But the lost people riding up and down the road have no idea what it means."
So he decided not to talk about God or the story of a fledgling country taking its first steps to be free. King decided, instead, to remind those who passed by the sign on their way to the beach that freedom needed to be nourished then -- and protected now.
"I try to put things that when they ride by and look at it that it will kind of hit you in the gut. Just like today, what I put up there today so many Americans, and especially younger people, we take our freedom for granted. They have never been demanded to go to war like they were in the draft. They don't know what it is like to get out there and get shot at. Some of them do not know what it's like to lose a loved one."
King said he was surprised the sign had gotten attention so quickly.
"I just got through," he said. "It has been there about five minutes. That is worth it all. I know at least one has read it.
"Maybe it touched one. Maybe it will touch some more. Maybe they will tell someone else. They have already told you all so it is already spreading. Thank the Lord for that one."