Reflecting on Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!

It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is already upon us. That means summer is flying by. This weekend, as we celebrate the 4th of July with picnics and parades, fireworks and friends, let’s take a few minutes to think about why we celebrate. Imagine what it would be like if no one fought the battles for our freedom. What would it be like if we were a country in bondage to another country?

I’m thankful for those who fought so many years ago to ensure the liberties that we have today. I’m thankful that I’m free. But that freedom didn’t come without a cost. So many have given their lives over the years to protect the freedom I enjoy, and so many still give their lives every day. 

As I celebrate my liberty this weekend, I’m also deeply grateful to those who work to protect our nation right now. I’m thankful for their sacrifice, not only in defending our shores with their lives, but in what it costs them personally. Many leave their spouses and children behind for more than a year. They give up the joy that I’ve had in seeing my children grow. Many marital relationships do not survive the separation.

These soldiers have given up their homes, the pleasure of hanging out with friends, and the simple joys of summer that we will all enjoy this weekend: family, friends, food. They serve in deserts while we mow our lawns and sip lemonade on the back deck. They travel in caravans of Humvees while we cruise around on four-lane freeways. They sleep in military quarters while we sleep in plush beds in air conditioned rooms.

This weekend, as I watch those magnificent fireworks and listen to every boom, I’ll remember the soldiers who hear booming all around them every night in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. I’ll remember those for whom hiding in a bunker is a daily event and I’ll think of them with deep gratitude. But most of all, I’ll pray for them. Will you pray too?

 “Pray for the Soldiers” is written and performed by Michelle Rayburn
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