Wrote this for the 4th of July, but am reposting in lieu of Veteran’s Day. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all the men and women who have faithfully served this country. Thank you especially to the families who have paid the ultimate price…the loss of a loved one in service to our nation….
Today is the “Fourth of July.” This holiday has become not only a celebration of freedom but also a time to remember those who fought to protect our freedom. Many of these men and women fought not just to protect Americans but also for individuals in other countries who were in jeopardy of losing their freedom. It is to this end that many debate our presence in other nations; areas of the world where many Americans feel it’s not our war to fight. It is hard to be a nation that has tasted and enjoyed the fruits of freedom and then make the conscience decision to ignore oppression.
There have been many in my family who have served in the US military. My uncle David lost his life in the line of duty…Vietnam. He was 19. I never got the opportunity to meet him, however my other uncle has spent the last year obtaining pictures and reconnecting with his ship mates. We have learned things about Dave’s last days that we never knew and it has drawn us closer to him and provided a much need healing to us. My uncle David was a member of the Riverines. According to my uncle, “They risked their lives daily to insert and extract marines and special forces. Dave was on a heavily armed Tango boat, that had a helo pad and a ramp to put troops on the shore.” A bomb embedded in the river bed ended his life. “Forever 19,” that is how my other uncle has always described Dave.
I am proud to be an American. I always feel humbled in the presence of our men and women in uniform…they are heroes. I feel the hole in my heart for having missed out on the opportunity to know an uncle who died so young defending freedom. I love our national anthem. I always want to see our flag flown. Freedom in the United States has come as a result of Gods grace on this nation. Today is a celebration of that grace. A grace that the founding forefathers of this nation understood. The same grace my uncle knew as he faced enemies in battle. A grace that was/is worth fighting for and is free to everyone irregardless of nationality. God’s grace.
In lasting memory…David Alden Land.