Anyone who has been around for a while knows that I generally don’t do holiday/themed/whatever posts. However, today is different.
How many of us went safely to church or some other place of worship yesterday? We drove there safely and I’d be willing to bet that none of us once questioned whether we would make it out of there alive or not. I bet none of us worried about the doors being broken down and being hauled off to jail. Or worried about being tortured in order to give up names of fellow believers. Or worried about the same happening to our families.
How many of us didn’t go to church or some other place of worship yesterday? How many of us sat at home, feeling the same feelings of safety? Knowing that no one would break down your door because you weren’t at church? And how many of us, despite not going to church, are still welcomed into society without a second thought?
These are the things I was thinking about yesterday. We all go about our daily lives and I’d imagine for the most part, we don’t really think about freedom. We don’t REALLY think about the concept and what it enables us to do and who it enables us to be. We get annoyed by people who don’t share our opinion instead of being thankful that we have the option to disagree with each other AND the government and not be afraid for our lives.
My life is safe. The most worried I EVER am about my safety is running at 8 am and thinking about all the rushed drivers who may not see me. I often forget, though, to think about (and thank) those who are responsible for my freedom. I forget that many men and women gave their lives, both in dying and in living, for me to have the rights that I have. How many men and women have died finding, securing, and protecting our land? How many men and women fought for years for me to now have the right to go to school and to vote? For the right to be outside alone and not accompanied by a man?
I know I risk sounding exactly like thousands of other blog posts going up today, but maybe that’s what we need in order to REALLY remember, if only for a day, what July 4th is about. We have to remember that freedom ISN’T free, but that it comes at the highest of cost. A cost that most Americans aren’t willing to take. I am one of them. I’m not in any military unit, volunteering my life to defend this country. I actually know very few people who ARE in the military. Most people I know have chosen the same route as me, some for the same reasons and some for different reasons. Does it really matter, though?
I think the thing that matters is that we don’t take what we have for granted. I think it’s important to celebrate the fact that we are allowed, BY LAW, to be different. To have our own opinions. To be a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent or a Tea Partier. To be for or against abortion and gay marriage. To have or not have firearms in our home. We are allowed to disagree and it’s expected. I think that the best way that we could celebrate this year’s 4th of July is by being thankful that we can have different opinions instead of tearing down the person who has the opposite opinion. We can respect each other, despite disagreements. We can honor those who have given their lives by being a people and a country worth dying for. Freedom, and having it, IS worth dying for. I believe that. But I also believe that it’s my responsibility as a citizen to help create a society where freedom is exercised through respect for other people.
Freedom isn’t free. What am I doing to make the cost worth it?