Monday, July 3, 2017

"Does the United Kingdom Have the Fourth of July Too?"

The title of this blog is an old, old joke, going back in time to when I was a kid; you know, when dinosaurs still lumbered around and we rode our pet pterodactyl to get anywhere from our cave! The answer: of course England, et al, have a 4th of July. However, to them, it's just another day on the calendar. And of course, the same holds true for every society that follows the Julian calendar.

A lot of time has passed since then and many things have changed, whether we wanted them to do so or not. However, there is one singular item that stands out; its value does does change with time. Moreover, it is a precious commodity that is valuable to every single person on the face of this, "Blue Marble," no matter where they live; be it in the Arctic all the way south to and Antarctic. That item is freedom. 

As I write this entry into our blog, it is July 3. 2017, the 241st anniversary of our Declaration of Independence. As we all know, it took a bloody and fatal Revolutionary War against the British Crown to win our freedom, paid for by the death of many soldiers and civilians on both sides.

While in the good ol' US of A, tomorrow means cookouts, beer, fireworks and more beer, I've have always wondered how many of those that celebrate the holidays this way, give a thought of the price this country has paid to provide us with this precious commodity over all these years.

For me, personally, I look at it through World War II for a couple of personal reasons. First, my father served in the Army during the War and was stationed in the Pacific Theater. He was at many of the islands that are listed for intense battles, such as Iwo Jima, Kwajalein Atoll and Guadalcanal. He was not on the front-line, but the third-line. What is the "third-line?" According to him, this was the support group. Once the majority of fighting was over, these men came in to set up sleeping quarters, cooking tents, latrines, etc. My dad was a cook, which served him very well all years after the War was over, as he took over the kitchen in our home each weekend. 

Second, one of my uncles served in the European Theater, but for a very short time. He served in a tank brigade and was about to participate in the D-Day invasion. After their ship brought them to  France as close to the German lines as possible, they used the night to move close to the border. 

At dawn, the order was given and the battle was engaged. Before my uncle's tank could fire their first round, a German round hit his tank. He was blown clear out of the tank, landing quite a distance away, severely injured with broken bones and severe burns, but he survived. The same could not be said for his for his three comrades.  Medics arrived relatively "quickly" for the times and treated him as best he could. Eventually, he was air-lifted to England and then back to the States. He was my "closest" uncle in two ways; first, he and his wife, who was one of my mother's sisters, always lived very close to our family. My Dad and my uncle got along famously and no matter where we moved, they settled there, too. And I suppose it was the constant proximity and all the time the families spent together, that truly endeared him to me. His injury recovery had to be good, as we only lost him five and a half years ago, when he passed at the age of 104.

The third personal reason why I attribute freedom to World War II, is due to the Nazi regime's planned and deliberate extermination of the Jewish population of Germany, first, to be followed by every country that Germany conquered and, in Hitler's maniacal mind, the world, once the Germans would have attained world domination. While most people connect the word, "Holocaust" with the six million Jews who were put to death in one manner or another, they forget that another three million Germans were murdered due to disease and disability. They did not fit in Hitler's definition for the perfect Arian race!

And closer to home, my beloved wife's parents were both interred in concentration and work camps during the war, while many more relatives were lost to the German hate machine. So yes - I do see the sacrifice that are both our civilians and our soldiers perished or were severely injured, through World War II, but also in very battle, skirmish and war they found to give us freedom, all the way back to the Revolutionary War. 

Tomorrow, I hope you will take a moment to remember every single civilian and military militia member, soldier, sailor, flyer, marine and special forces, who lived and died so that we can continue to celebrate July 4th.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July and
 God Bless the United States of America

 Stay Safe and let's make sure that Everyone Goes Home.