I've been having deep thoughts today, and as you know, this almost always leads to a rant. So here we go.
We've often heard the expression that "Freedom isn't free." This is so true. Men and women from all over the country have gone out to defend our freedoms and sometimes haven't come home. I honor their sacrifice and think of them with gratitude on days such as this, when we celebrate the freedom we have because of the things they did.
But as I think about those who defend our freedoms, I wonder -- how many of us are content to let others fight for our freedoms? Shouldn't we be the ones to defend ourselves? I'm not saying we should all enlist and go fight, but what are we doing in our legislature? In our local voting district? In our own communities and homes? Do we let others impinge on our personal freedoms, or do we stick up for ourselves?
Freedom comes in many different forms. I have the freedom to fly a flag, but I also have the freedom to not fly a flag. I have the right to free speech, but I also have the right to turn and walk away when someone else's free speech is obscene or offensive. I have the right to protect my family from terrorists, but I also have the right to protect them from bullies, insults, anything that would lower their self-esteem or make them feel less than they are. There aren't soldiers assigned to safe-guard the emotional well-being of my family -- that's my job, with my husband leading the charge.
On this 4th of July, let's not think of freedom as just freedom from foreign rule. Let's think about everything freedom means -- the freedom to learn, grow, explore, discover, create, become, enjoy, thrive, nurture, prosper, edify, uplift, celebrate, rejoice, worship, love, care - and let's protect those freedoms from anyone who would seek to take them away from us, be they a terrorists with a bomb, a constricting law being considered by congress, or even a well-meaning friend who doesn't understand why we choose to live the way we do. We would fight these opposing forces very differently, but we still need to treasure and protect our rights, so we don't someday lose them.
And by the way -- I choose to fly the flag. Long may she wave!