By: G. David Sload, President-CEO, ABC Keystone
This month we celebrate the July 4th holiday, or as the older generation knows it, “Independence Day.” For some, this is just another day off from work. But to many, it truly celebrates our freedom, freedom from oppression and tyranny to create a more perfect government. This day is recognized yearly in honor of the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Four months following that, our Constitution was produced. Both documents set us on a path to becoming the greatest country on earth.
A little over one month ago, we observed another momentous holiday, Memorial Day. Again, this is more than just another day off from work. Memorial Day is not a day of celebration but a day of remembrance. Memorial Day is when we remember all the men and women who have fought and given their lives to preserve the freedom we enjoy.
My daughter came home to visit for Memorial Day weekend. She has an affinity for the Naval Academy in Annapolis, so she asked if we could travel there on Memorial Day. As she wandered around the grounds taking pictures, I sat on a park bench under a big old tree watching the visitors pass by. The number of people struck me—both young and old—and the number of veterans spending their holiday at this historic, quiet place.
As with any trip to the Academy, we always end at the information center/gift shop. Not liking to shop, I parked on a padded bench in the information area. I watched an older gentleman using a cane for assistance stand and speak with the information host. You could tell by the hat he wore he was a veteran that had served on the USS Woodrow Wilson. He said with pride about his time in the Navy, the friendships he had formed, and the brethren he had lost.
A short time into his storytelling, a younger fellow walked up and listened intently. After a time, he interrupted and told the older gentleman, “Thank you for your service, and yes, I too have served in the Navy, having just recently completed my service.” They were representatives of two different generations, but both were proud to have served for the freedom of this great country. As I sat and listened, it became clear we have lost the fundamental reason we exist as a country. Every legislator and politician should have to visit one of our service academies and learn about our true roots. We are at a time where we need to return to teaching the history of this country, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I often say, “We cannot live in the past, but we must celebrate and learn from it.”
As you celebrate this “Independence Day,” remember the true meaning, the celebration of freedom. Let us continue to fight to ensure that our politicians and other radical groups do not destroy what this country was formed to do, providing a perfect union and freedom for all.
Posted May 9, 2023