My mother is an army brat. Her dad worked at the pentagon, her four brothers were in various branches of the military, her family bleeds red white and blue.
My father, on the other hand, was raised Mennonite, which means he comes from a long line of pacifists. My grandfather was a conscientious objector during World War Two, when such things were considered traitorous. He tells stories of taking food to Poland when they were starving, immediately after the war ended.
And then there's me. My sisters and I have all dated military guys, yet I wonder how to align government-sanctioned killing with my religious beliefs. I don't know. I struggle. All I know is this: I'm grateful for our country, grateful for our freedom, and grateful for a holiday that involves exploding things. Also I know this:
"It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag."
- Father Dennis Edward O'Brian, USMC
Happy Independence Day