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Archive for July 4th, 2007

Happy Birthday, USA

A few weeks ago, we had some work done on our home to 1) remove bats and flying squirrels and 2) keep them from coming back. The man who did the work told me that he had been home from Iraq from about a year and a half. Coincidentally, one of our Terminix service guys, a military policeman, had orders to go back in August.

At some point I Googled our Critter Control guy. I needed his phone number and was too lazy to go through our paperwork looking for it. Instead, I found this article. Holy crap, I thought. The guy fixing our house has a Bronze Star?

Later that week, when he returned, we got to talking. Let’s just say this man has very strong ideas about the war. Ideas that made me think. At one point he said, “The Iraqi people deserve their chance at freedom.” That brought me up short. It had nothing to do with the president or vice president or their aides, nothing to do with anything except unadulterated altruism. The Iraqi people deserve a chance. If they choose against it, at least they had a choice. Isn’t that what the United States is all about?

He didn’t change my mind about the overall shenanigans in Washington, the lies that brought us to Iraq in the first place in an appalling case of ends not-quite-justifying the means. Closer to my view is this excellent op-ed by Keith Olbermann, who gave me chills when he ended his address with “Good night, and good luck.” (Anyone see that movie? He really did evoke Murrow last night. Yes, folks, there’s one broadcast journalist left who cares, and lets people know it.) Olbermann summed up my feelings nicely, about people in power who take full advantage of the fact that Americans are more interested in shopping and Paris Hilton than they are about, well, very much of anything else.

Thanks to a humble service provider, I can understand better when I see the families of dead servicemen telling us that their soldiers “died for freedom.” Now I realize that’s true, even if their deaths also happened to line someone else’s pockets. It’s with that in mind that I feel I can celebrate our country’s birthday for the first time in years. I love the United States, the fact that the most important thing about democracy is the matter of choice – the free will that God Himself bestowed on us when He created us. Too bad the Islamist extremists don’t recognize that choice in their interpretations of God.

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