I got an email today from a good friend today who is a helicopter pilot stationed in Iraq. He helped remind me about how important this day is to our way of life. Below is an excerpt of my reply to him, and it expresses my own feelings of gratitude for our unbelievable country.
I'm probably not unlike many Americans who particularly think about our incredible blessing to be a citizen of the USA on this day every year. Conversations are everywhere today and the sense of national unity is high - even if only for the day. My Dad is here visiting with me today - a Vietnam Vet, with a purple heart, who should have died when he stepped on a landmine, but didn't. Our conversations are usually about the state of our country, the future for our children, and the political mess that seems to be getting worse in Washington, not better.
But behind it all is the consideration of true, honorable national heroes. You are one of these. We are anticipating your return safely, and I believe that will happen. But you can be breathing and still give up your life. You have done that - you have given huge portions of your life for us. It's hard to really grasp, and emotion wells up inside me to think of it. Why would someone do what you are doing now?
The answer is hard to swallow: You do it because you believe in us. You believe in our cause. You believe in our future.
Ironically, because of your courage, we believe in it, too. Regardless of the disgust that I and many others have over our political processes and the politicians that drive them, we remain firm in our belief, resolved to our cause. America: Where government is for the people, by the people. Where the land is free and the brave make their home. Where heroes are born and give themselves to a cause larger than the horizon, greater than life itself.
We believe in you, and we are profoundly grateful for what you do for us.
Looking forward to your safe return.