Independence Day

I know that I haven't made any posts in quite a long time. The work hours are getting longer to the point where I can only browse the messages here once a week or so. With my new, used truck I find I'm
not seeking solutions to problems as often. I recently came back from of an active duty assignment and was able to enjoy the holiday here at home. I wanted to share my thoughts with you, especially my brothers and sisters in arms, active, reserve, retired or otherwise. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oh, the stars at night, are shining bright deep in the heart of Texas
It was a beautiful evening as nightfall began to settle over my small west Texas town. Off in the distance, claps, bangs, booms and whistles could be heard, sporadically assailing the ears like the spackling of distant cannon fire. The sun had retired beyond the horizon, my world's edge illuminated by a thin band of red that stretched into a pale darkness above. Clouds perched on the horizon, black watchers which dampened the mood around me.
In the true west-Texas style of celebrating Independence Day, I grabbed my folding lawn-chair, a cooler of beer and my pick-up keys. I drove thirty feet across the parking lot, got out and stretched away the labors of such a difficult drive. I had backed my truck up against a picket fence, set up the lawn chair in the bed and started the tunes on my stereo. It was time to settle in and watch the ensuing war.
As sad as it is, there really is nothing better to do in my town all year. The city doesn't put on a fireworks display, so it's left to the citizens to entertain themselves. There really is nothing better than watching a bunch of drunken Texans trying to blow themselves (or each other) up with fireworks. My apartment building parking lot backs up against a field about a half mile long and a quarter mile wide. Small neighborhoods border each side of the field. When the fireworks get into full swing, it's like watching a Revolutionary War reenactment without all the soldiers charging across the field. Considering my location, maybe the battle for the Alamo would be more appropriate. Fireworks go off on each side of the field like volleys aimed at the opposing side. I flip a coin to decide who will be the red forces, and who will be blue.
During this time, I sit down, crack open the beers and start to pray. I thank God for our country, our freedom and my life here. It really doesn't get much more American than this. I usually leave my heart and mind open to whatever God wants to impress on me while watching this private war of mine.
The red forces launched a sweet volley ironically followed up by a small backyard explosion on the blue side.
As I watch, I think about the sacrifices made by our younger countrymen back in the beginning; a bunch of farmers, lawyers, and scientists taking up arms against a repressive government thousands of miles away with superior forces here at home. The sacrifices of our patriots are the reason I'm sitting here, watching, praying and hoping that this will be a tradition for generations to come.
Invariably, my thoughts prayers were drawn to my brothers and sisters in blue and green serving on a variety of battlefields: Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and others too numerous to list. They have placed their lives in peril for me. Not just for me, but for all of my fellow citizens across the expanse of America, and our friends and allies around the world. Sometimes, my seven years of active service doesn't seem enough to have paid for the privilege of being a citizen of this great country, and I hope that the work I do as an active reservist now makes up for the debt I feel I still owe to my country and countrymen.
I have volunteered for every battle, every opportunity that has arisen in ten years of service. In a way I am thankful that I have not been chosen or needed to serve in the front ranks, but at the same time I want to be there with my brothers and sisters. I can only think that God has a greater purpose or need for me elsewhere when the time comes. For now, the task is left to others. To my fellow servicemen: I pray for your successful completion of the mission and a safe return home. Perform every task, whether great or menial, active engagement or in support as if it will be the one to successfully win the war. I know this is hard to do so far from home, but despite what many of you hear, the real America is pulling for you all.
I hear on the news that the big-city fireworks displays are going to be the best ever this year. They may be visually impressive, much more so than what I get to watch every year, but the meaning is lost to me in all the grandeur. I grew up in large cities. Those large displays are more entertainment than they are about the meaning of the day. Frankly, I prefer this backyard war. I sit in solitude and ponder what happened almost 230 years ago; what it meant for those early citizens and what it means for me today. I can imagine the battle before me, and it reinforces the fact that our freedom and independence were won in blood.
The Marine Corps values sum up the true meaning of the day: Honor, Commitment and Courage. These values are what made and sustain our nation. We cannot sacrifice these ideals to whims and enemies would supplant the freedoms that were declared and pursued on this day. These are the values we must all adopt, not just on Independence Day, but every day of our lives.
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Sounds like Fort Bliss
Must have been a battle between Border Patrol and Illegal border crossers

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