As an army brat and in a family where my dad and three uncle's served in the military, (two of them career, one died in WWII,) I've supported the troops every chance I get.
And my dad taught me that the 4th of July was about WHY we have the military in the first place.
The 4th celebrates the unique place in the world that our country has, at great cost, obtained.
It's about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
It's about the sacrifices and the pledge the founders and their families made to each other that included "their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor."
All of them "fully understood that if the revolution failed, their property would be confiscated and their lives forfeited." (American Heritage website)
Many of them used their financial resources to outfit the troops leaving them penniless, others lost their homes and businesses in the war.
It was a time of Civic bravery, loyalty and commitment to each other.
The motto: "United we stand, Divided we fall" was used by Patrick Henry to reflect the shared value they had for the future and the importance of having this "great endevour in common." It gave rise to "E pluribus unum" Out of many, one.
Yes, it relied on the military, but it was much more than the military and so it set history on a new path with the overthrow of a colonial power by a nation of like minded people caring for each other and seeking freedom, liberty and justice together.
It was not about selfishness, greed or self aggrandizement.
It gave us the high hope that we could be more than we had been, ever better than our history records.
That's the fourth of July to me and to focus exclusively on the military and/or present day achievements demeans and diminishes the immense sacrifice and values that our nation was founded on.
It is my prayer to stop and listen to God's gracious, righteous and unconditional love, challenging us all...
To love as Jesus loved: completely and sacrificially.
To love God with everything we have,
and to love our neighbors with actions of healing, reconciliation and mutual empowerment.
It is my prayer this 4th of July that we all put down our angry rhetoric, reach out a hand empty of weapons and begin to find our common humanity and common values as citizens of the United States of America.
It is my prayer this 4th of July that we recognize that we dwell together on this planet with peoples of many other lands and nations who feel just as passionately about their country as we do for ours
It is my prayer this 4th of July that we begin to affirm and encourage each other to share the best ideas and highest hopes and stop tearing down of one another in the name of our own selfish greed.
It is my prayer this 4th of July that we see that we're all in this together, and that if we don't come together and address the problems of racism, income inequality and global climate change, we will just become another chapter in history that left it's mark, but was too soon gone.
"E Pluribus Unum" - Out of many, ONE! (Our U.S.A. motto)
This is my prayer.....