In the summers during my early teen years I would often travel with my younger siblings to visit my Grandpa and Grandma Miller in Missouri. The highlight of our visit was a trip to Branson. We’d go to the theme park, attend old-time country music shows, and eat way too much frozen custard. Branson is about as rich in Americana as a place can be, and as my Grandpa was a veteran of the United States Air Force, he always felt right at home.
Whenever the musicians would play a tribute to the veterans or the Star Spangled Banner, I’d watch my Grandpa rise and snap to attention, back straight like a ramrod, arm up in a salute, with a far-off gleam in his eye. Even as a child, I knew I was observing something profound. In that moment I sensed he was reliving so many seasons of his life: deployments oversees, strategic missions, battle-forged friendships, and sacrificial losses. When the music played, my Grandpa remembered it all, and why he did it: because he loved his country.
My Grandpa taught me that freedom isn’t free. Freedom is won through the courage and sacrifice of many. So as we celebrate our freedoms this fourth of July weekend, let us remember the sacrifice and service of so many of our forbearers who paid the price that we might be free. Today we celebrate the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Indeed, we are loved, more than we know.