Celebrate America and our freedom

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 30, 2004

On Sunday, our nation marks the 228th anniversary of Independence Day. This is America’s big day.

Locally, we kick things off Friday night with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and Greenville Main Street's inaugural celebration.

Let's face it, we can celebrate our freedom all weekend.

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So go ahead and let the kids celebrate. Give them flags to wave. Let them feel, inside their little chests, the pride of being part of something great, something unlike anything else in the world, a republic where all are free to make their own choices.

Thrill them with fireworks and brilliant bursts of light and sound.

This is after all, a rite of passage for kids. They get to see – and they will long remember – the noisy, cheerful, exciting and prideful events of this one day.

Adults should not worry, they are allowed to have fun as well, although they may have some somber moments.

Some may get choked up over the friends and family members they lost in World War II.

Let them cry.

They earned the right to do so.

Those tears preserve the American spirit.

There is nothing funny about it when a soldier or veteran cries.

Others may have fought wars on distant lands such as Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Granada, Panama or any other police action.

Remember their sacrifice.

Then there is

the awful black day known as 9-11still fresh in our minds. And in the following months and years, the search for our enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yes, 228 years later, Americans are still bleeding and dying for the things that the Fourth of July represents.

America is the most generous country in the world's history.

We don't give away our generosity for self-indulgence, but rather, we give it away so that other nations, poorer nations and the oppressed nations can understand the concept of freedom.

We should remember those soldiers who are serving still, but we should remember others too.

We should remember the 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence that literally set us free.

We should remember that they too pledged themselves to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Talk to your children about the history of that day and why we should remember, but also explain why it is a time to celebrate. They must know freedom's cost.

So join your friends and neighbors at Tiger Stadium this Friday night and celebrate America.

Then make a weekend celebration of it. And do a few things special such as:

Fly Old Glory!

Cheer for the veterans.

Pray for the fallen.

Watch the fireworks explode like bombs in the air.

Eat those hot dogs and have some apple pie.

And by all means, go to Freedom's Table and gorge yourself on patriotic pride.

A high price has been paid, over and over again, so that we can observe this wonderful day.

God bless America.