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"I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom." -Bob Dylan

I was raised to be patriotic and to support our country. I obediently saluted the flag and enjoyed celebrating the 4th of July. I didn't know what I was doing. I did what was expected.

When I was married, my husband was in the Airforce. As a military wife, my value system changed. I no longer obediently stood for the flag salute because it was expected. I stood with respect for our flag and the freedom this country is blessed with. I learned firsthand what responsibility our military willingly accepts to make sure our nation continues to live in freedom.

During the 90s, we experienced Operation Desert Shield as well as Operation Desert Strom. My ex-husband was a jet engine mechanic and was not deployed overseas during the war. He was disappointed. Like many military members, he wanted to serve our country in the war. Even though he was not deployed, we were always on edge. My ex-husband's mobility bag was packed and sitting at the door. Any minute we could get the call that he was being deployed. I went to meetings on base for dependents about what we could expect and what support the Airforce could provide. I continuously prayed that I could help both my ex-husband and others in the same situation.

Several of our friends were deployed; we learned to be supportive of those left behind in both physical ways (mowing the lawn etc.) or emotionally (listening etc.) and pray for their loved ones.

What I learned in my military experience:

· Men and women in the military are ready and willing to fight for our country.

· During peace times, they continue to sharpen their skills so they are not caught off guard.

· In some instances, they put country before family – this was difficult.

· It is an honor to be a wife of a military person.

· I am proud of the men and women that serve our country.

As a child, we spent the 4th of July doing what most families do – we had a good time, watched fireworks, and did some fireworks at home. Now, I still enjoy fireworks and BBQs, and time with friends. However, today I spend some time counting my blessings of being an American.

It is important to look at why we left England in the first place. We formed a government in this country because we wanted political liberty, religious freedom, and economic opportunity.

Today America is a different place. Over the last 25 years, we have experienced terrorism (9/11), political unrest, and less allegiance to our country. These issues greatly sadden me. I am conservative and don't agree with everything we, as a country, support. However, I still think we are the greatest nation in the world. I am thankful for our forefathers and their commitment to making sure we live in freedom.

Enjoy this 4th. Take the time to thank a veteran or a person in a political office for looking out for America's citizens.

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