I believe that far too many of us take what we have for granted. There have been so many lives sacrificed and so many acts of bravery to attain and maintain what we - what I - have come to know as being an American.
I don't pretend to be anything close to an expert in history. But I do know what a tremendous act of courage it was for those men to sign the Declaration of Independence. And what sacrifices families have made over the last 200+ years to preserve that freedom proclaimed and fought for by those early patriots.
My daughter's school did their Veterans Day program yesterday. Her speaking part was about how Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day and how nobody could have fathomed a war more brutal than World War I, the so-called "War to End All Wars." But a few short years later, World War II began and acts more horrible than anyone had ever imagined were being perpetrated on fellow human beings. And each time America stepped up for the "good guys." Our soldiers, sailors and airman fought to rid the world of oppression and tyranny. Not so that they could look good or receive glory. But because it was the right thing to do.
Stop for a moment and consider how different your life would be if those brave men and women hadn't gone into battle for you. Because Hitler wouldn't have stopped with Europe. And those Cold Warriors, who get little recognition, are the reason you don't have to stand in line for your daily ration of food. The reason you are allowed to go to church. Whichever church you want to attend. Or NOT go to church. The reason you are allowed to wear the clothes you want to wear, read the books you want to read, drive the car you want to drive, and be friends with whomever you like. They are the reason that you can say that you think our government stinks and that you should be the president. And even the reason that you won't go to jail or be executed for burning the flag (Just don't let me see or hear about you doing that, because I reserve the right to open a giant can of whoop ass on you if you are so foolish as to do so). You have so many freedoms that you don't even think about day-to-day, because somebody fought to preserve them.
So I would like to personally thank each and every one of the people who have served this country - my country - and defended her in times of war and in peacetime. I have a safe place to raise my children. I am so proud of you. I am proud of my husband. My grandfather. And all of the fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, sons and daughters who have stepped up to the plate and said "I will keep you safe."
God bless you all. And God Bless America.