Happy Birthday America!!
Today we celebrate and honor our country with parades, fireworks, food, family, friends - in so many varied ways. But one thing is true of all our celebrations - our deep, deep love for this land and all that she stands for.
We Americans are all different, our belief systems, our politics, our lifestyles and culture; but one thing we all have in common - we ARE Americans. United by the common bonds of FREEDOM and LIBERTY. There are some today who would have us focus on what is wrong with America - I believe we should focus on what is RIGHT with America. The way we support our military and all those who fight to continue to keep us free. The way we help our neighbors; reach out to the hurting and those in need. We grow, and dream and plan and build and when tragedy strikes, we do it all over again with a spirit of determination and will that spells triumph over adversity.
We Americans have much to be thankful for this day. We live in a land where we are free to participate in an election process that includes every citizen of age. We can speak openly and freely; we can have a dream and pursue it; we are free to worship when, where and whom we please. We can march in a parade and wave our flag and sing the Star-Spangled Banner and weep with love for our country, openly and with complete understanding from those around us.
I am thankful to God today for allowing me to live and breathe and prosper in this great nation of ours. My prayer today is that He will continue to guide and direct us, giving wisdom to our leaders with a strong dose of humility as they recognize His hand of grace on our land. My prayer today is that we never forget those who have fought and died and sacrificed to win our freedoms and keep us free. As Americans, their spilled blood runs in all our veins. Our lives, our liberty are a result of men with a vision who sought the approval of our Almighty God and won it - establishing us as the greatest nation on Earth. Our united strength and our willingness to fight for our liberty has kept us free to this day - still the greatest nation on Earth, still the land of the free and the home of the brave. God bless America!
Today's photos are from our family 4th of July celebration in 2004. This was one of my best ever 4th's and I treasure the memories! We spent the weekend at my parents home on the river - Emma was 7 years old. She and my Dad rode in the 4th of July parade that day and in the evening, we went to the docks and watched the fireworks together.
This photo is one of my favorites of Emma:
Here she is with my Dad before the parade:
Riding down the main street, tossing candy to the children:
A great photo of Mom and Dad together:
and Me with Mark, the love of my life:
We are so very blessed to have special memories like this. I hope today as you celebrate and remember the reason we celebrate that you will make some special memories of your own. Enjoy your hamburgers on the grill, apple pie and ice cream, sparklers and fireworks; but take some time to breathe a prayer of thanks to our God for the rich blessings in your life.
Happy Birthday America!