Patriotism

It's Going to Get Ugly

8:12 PMHeather

I'm warning you now. If you are sitting near me tomorrow at the God and Country church service...I will likely cry. It could even be the ugly cry. Because, you see, for me, the holiday that evokes deep, weepy emotion is the Fourth of July. If you've seen my son's room, you might have a clue as to why.

My kids come from a heritage RICH and STEEPED in military service. My dad served two tours in Vietnam, and was a career Army man. My grandfather served in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific, and my uncle served in the Army during Vietnam. My father-in-law served as a Marine, and his father-in-law served in the Army during World War II in the European campaign. And, my husband's god-brother did search and recovery at the Pentagon after 9/11 during his years in the Army, and served in Iraq with the Air Force.

Naturally, I was raised with a deep patriotism. I was raised by a man who grew up dreaming about serving his country through military service. At a time when men dodged the draft and people protested, my dad willingly signed up to answer a higher call. I was raised by a man who saw and lived through the atrocities of war, and could not bear to speak of them. But, he was changed by them. He came back from the war with a deeper love for America, despite the ridicule, hostility, and name calling that Vietnam Vets endured. I was raised by a man who ultimately died from cancer due to his exposure to Agent Orange during the war. And, I was raised by a man who did not regret what he gave for the sake of freedom.

I can vividly remember my dad BLARING his patriotic records, acting as conductor to the orchestra recorded on those old vinyls. It made me roll my eyes....and now, when I hear the Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Army Anthem, it brings tears to my eyes.

Because, I know freedom isn't free. I know the pain of sacrifice given by women and men who feel a calling toward God and country. I know that our country was founded by men who gave all they had to birth a country based on Biblical principles and a freedom to worship. And, I want my kids to know. It must be sinking in because one of my sons is already determined to continue the military legacy.

So, just pass me a tissue and look away so we can all pretend you didn't see my ugly cry. God Bless America!

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