Happy 4th of July!!

Here in Kellogg, that means being in the parade, and then going watching fireworks later, and shooting off some of our own.

For our country, the Fourth of July also means celebrating our independence from England and becoming our own country.

For others, it is a time to honor those who have served and are currently serving our country in the United States Military so we can continue to be a free nation, a nation that started back in 1776.

And these men and women sacrifice every single day to protect our freedom.  As well as their families.  And I can read about it, and sympathize in some way, but I do not truly understand or could put myself in their shoes to understand this sacrifice.

One of my best friends has a son who is currently serving over in Afghanistan.  I have known this young man since before his mother gave birth to him.  His dad and Paul were best friends growing up.  His wife recently gave birth to their beautiful baby daughter, and he had to experience the birth through Skype.  Within the past few weeks, a member of his unit was killed.

I can experience the sadness.  But I cannot imagine what my friend Mary is going through as his mother.  His sister posted this on Facebook this morning, and I thought it was very beautiful:

Our freedom is precious because of men like Thomas, who died two weeks ago. He was in my brother's unit and with my brother being a corpsman he was the first one to get to his friend. Please remember and pray for the family, friends, and fellow marines Thomas leaves behind. We're the home of the free because of the brave.

Thank you Jordan Lowe, and thank you Mary Lowe, for your sacrifice.

I visited with another friend this week whose son was stationed over in the Middle East for many years, and now he is home and retired, but she watches how his time in the military has affected him, and his family, and I spent many times praying with her and for her son while he was overseas.  A mother knows the danger, something I will never understand.

My Grandma Woolum lost her oldest son in World War II.  My Uncle Bill served in the Navy on a ship in the Pacific, and the ship was bombed by the Japanese.  I don't think my grandma ever got over the loss.  She has very hard feeling towards the Japanese the rest of her life.  She was a Gold Star Mother.  Losing her son in the war was probably one of the biggest defining moments of her life.

And once your son or daughter commits to serving their country in the military, I believe there is a bond with the other mothers that no one can understand. 

Recently our good friend Jon Evans enlisted in the Army.  You know his mother is proud, but you know her heart is being torn each and every day.  The same with my friend Lori, whose son Kintauna is also serving.  And Lori does such a great job encouraging those other mothers, because she knows exactly what they are going through, and how hard it is to have your child serving their country, but there is also pride as well. 

Thank you  Jon Evans and Kintauna Miles, and thank you Heather Martin and Lori Hendrix, for your sacrifice.

And Linda's son Donovan who is serving in the Marines.  And I always love that she always knows the names of the men Donovan serves with, and remembers them as well.  Here is what she posted on Facebook today:

On this 4th of July I want to thank those men and women who serve, sacrifice for us. To my son Donovan, Matt, Ryan, Luis, James, Andrew Cody, Estaben and many more, our family loves you, prays for you and honor you not this day but everyday! Love you all and GOD BE WITH YOU ALWAYS!

Thank you Donovan Newell, and thank you Linda Sepa Newell, for your sacrifice.

We can all have our opinion on the military, and how bad war is, and whether we agree with the current foreign policy or not, but please don't ever look down on or belittle those men and women who are serving our country. 

And keep their families in your prays as well.  There are a lot of people across our nation who sacrifice each and every day for our freedom. 

And we never want to take that for granted.

Mary, Carolyn, Heather, Lori, Linda, and any other Military Mom who may be reading this right now.  I pray for you and honor you as you sacrifice for our country as well.
I Give my Son to you:

I held him as an infant;
I hugged him as a boy.
And through the years he has become
My greatest pride and joy.

I love him more than I can say,
His life more precious than my own.
But gone are the whims and notions
Of the little boy that I have known.

For the years have passed so quickly
Since the time it all began,
And now he stands before me
With the convictions of a man.

He wants to serve his country
He states aloud with pride,
As I try to sort out the emotions
That I'm feeling deep inside.

A union of the uncertain fear,
Which I cannot control,
And the allegiance that lies deep within
My patriotic soul.

I trust that my years of guidance
Will serve as a strong foundation
As he perfoms the duties requested
From his beloved nation.

God, please guide him as he travels
To the places our Soldiers have bled,
And walk with him through pathways
where those heroes' feet have tread.

Oh, Sweet Land of Liberty,
Humbly I give you my son,
Praying you'll return him safely home
When his work for you is done.

Author Unknown

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