July 4th: Remembering and Celebrating Independence Day

Onboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Eric Kaplan, right, and Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Brian Lenz, prepare to eat hot dogs during a Morale, Welfare and Recreation hot dog eating contest Feb. 13, 2008. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jennifer S. Kimball)

First, a few fun facts courtesy of Navy Capt. Paul S. Hammer director of the Defense Centers for Excellence: for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury:

  • Three of our nation’s presidents died on the Fourth of July. Two, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, died on the same day in 1826, which also happened to be the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe died several years later on July 4, 1831.
  • According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, “On Independence Day, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. over five times.” July also happens to be National Hot Dog Month.
  • Our national anthem is set to the tune “To Anacreon of Heaven” thought to be a drinking song of 18th century London society.
  • $232.3 million is the approximate value of fireworks imported from China in 2011. By comparison, the United States fireworks exports came to just $15.8 million in 2011, with Australia purchasing more than any other country, totaling $4.5 million.
  • Thirty-one places have “liberty” in their names. The most populous one as of April 1, 2010, was Liberty, Mo. (29,149). Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.

The family support group T.A.M.P.A.  on this July 4th is sharing this message on its website:

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea 

Let us swear allegiance to a land that is free

Let us all be Grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

– Irving Berlin 

T.A.M.P.A. serves families throughout Florida who have a family member serving in the United States Marine Corps. Although it’s primarily for Marine families, the group welcomes all military branches.
Members include Active Duty, Reserves, Retired, Veterans, Wounded Warriors, those in Boot Camp, individuals in the Delayed Entry Program, family members, friend & supporters. Gold and Silver Star families are also welcome.
The organization will hold its 5th annual memorial event that honors
our Fallen Florida Heroes and their Gold Star Families – the 5th Annual Run for the Fallen – is August 25 and 26.

Freedom Is Not Free, Military Families Pay the Price Daily

On Monday, we celebrated the signing of the Declaration of Independence  on July 4, 1776 by delegates of the original thirteen colonies.  The first Independence Day celebration occurred on July 4,1777 although our freedom was not fully achieved until September 3, 1783 when the United States and Great Britain signed the Treaty of Paris and ended the Revolutionary War.

America’s first freedom, the dissolution of Britain’s rule over us, was accomplished because men were willing to leave their families to fight and die for this great cause.    Now, 235 years later, every freedom that we cherish and sometimes take for granted  is defended by the men and women of our Armed Forces.  Without the sacrifices and selfless acts of these brave heroes, life as we know it would not exist.

My thoughts on July 4th were on the images of deployment day: the line up of duffel bags at Fort Carson representing families that were about to say good-bye, small children clinging to their daddy’s leg while he was giving mommy that last hug, my son’s final embrace with his wife just after he and I shared ours.

Deployment day at Fort Carson for Tracie's son.

I tearfully relive the moments standing side by side with Army wives as we watched our men disappear into that gym.  Our families are just a fraction of the many military families that are currently separated by deployments.

I am reminded of the anguish on the faces of two mothers on the day their fallen hero sons were laid to rest here in Denver.  I think of the two wounded warriors and their parents that are part of our Colorado Military Families Ministry group and what they have gone through.

July 4th is a day to celebrate our nation’s freedom, but let us not forget to honor the heroes and their families that endure the burden of defending that freedom.

A special thanks to all of our men and women in uniform and their families–you are the reason we celebrate Independence Day.

Afghanistan: Troops Re-Enlist, Gen. Petraeus Bids Farewell

Gen. David Petraeus. Photo courtesy of Military.com.

What a way to celebrate the United States’ Independence Day. Re-enlisting while serving in a war zone – Gen. David Petraeus called  it “the most meaningful display of patriotism possible.” On his final Fourth of July as Commander of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan, Petraeus spent the day at two different re-enlistment ceremonies.

The general is retiring from the military to take over as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen. For the full story at Military.com, click HERE.

%d bloggers like this: