What a time we live in.
Do you ever just stop your busy life and thank God you were born in this place, in this time? I do. Sometimes, selfishly, I think about what my life would be like without hair product or indoor plumbing... I think about how I would write books with a quill or live without Starbucks and I feel pleasantly grateful for this time and place I was divinely appointed.
When I say those things out loud, they seem so silly. There are so many other important reasons to be grateful for this century. Modern medicine for instance. Modern roads. Communication. The absence of raiding Viking Hordes.
And beyond that, in the country I live in, in this United States of America, there is more to be thankful for. Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Religion. Equal Rights. Women's Rights. A democratic republic in which we can choose a president that serves for a limited time.
We are blessed in America. Even while things seem so bad right now. Even while our rights are being threatened and our liberties questioned.
We still enjoy this freedom that is a foundational part of each and every American.
And while we can look to the Constitution and thank our Founding Fathers for having the insight and foresight to establish a country that holds life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness above all things, we must also thank our Veterans.
We must also thank those that have served this country since the beginning. That fought wars and battles and worked on a daily basis to ensure that we get to keep these rights we hold so dear, that ensure our freedoms are not threatened by outside forces and our liberties are stripped away by the enemies that would gladly take them.
Our greatest threat to the principles in which this nation was founded come from within. Our military, our serving men and women, have sacrificed their happiness, their own freedom and often times their lives to protect us from evil that would take all of this away from us.
We can look all the way back to the beginning and the Revolutionary War. How close we came to losing our freedom before it ever began. We can thank men who devoted their lives to building something great, something different, something that had never been done before.
We can look to the Civil War and how we abolished slavery. How we fought to give every man, no matter his race or color of his skin, equal placing in our constitutional values. We can look at the rest of the world and see how unique that war was to this day. How privileged we are to live in a country that holds every man and woman equal. This is not the norm. This is not the status quo. This is unique and precious and we have a responsibility to respect this freedom and uphold this value.
We can look to the World Wars. Specifically the second one. Where it wasn't just our freedom at stake, but the value of human life. We didn't just stop an attempt at world domination, we fought to end mass genocide. As a nation we believed that human life was worthy and worth fighting for and that every man, woman and child was created equally and deserving of a free life.
We still believe that today.
I can go on and on. September 11th. Afghanistan. Iraq. The battles we don't even hear about because our military is fighting for liberty while our media reports on inane red coffee cups.
And as Americans, I think we have a tendency to get complacent. We expect the rest of the world to hold our views of life and respect all races, religions and genders equally. Like we do. Because it's what we've done since the beginning. Because we can't imagine a different way of thinking or a different way of life.
But it's not true.
We are unique in the world. Our military is unique in the world.
ISIS is executing Christians by the hundreds of thousands. And yet we are allowed to worship freely. We are allowed to not worship freely. You are free to be a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or an atheist and that is your inalienable right. Our idea of the separation of church and state was not delivered to protect our government from our religious beliefs because our founding fathers knew and understood that men and women should have religious beliefs. But rather the separation of church and state protects the church from our government. How blessed are we to believe whatever we want without penalty or alienation.
How blessed are we to be a woman or a man and be treated equally, fairly and without prejudice.
I am a woman that works from home. I am a woman that is wearing yoga pants and a tank top and a messy bun and no makeup and I speak freely in my house, I worship a God I believe in and I choose what school to send my children to. I am a woman that is paid just as equally as men. I am a woman that speaks to my husband as his equal. I am a woman that can write this blog and speak out against injustice without fear or punishment.
This is unique, people. I swear to you.
And through it all I have my military to thank. I have the men and women that have fought in all branches of service, that have sacrificed, that have given up normal, peaceful lives and have dedicated them in service to this country.
You deserve more than my gratitude. You deserve more than my thanks. But in my humble life it is all I have to give to you.
So thank you for your time, your effort and your commitment to freedom.
We honor you today as a nation. You are heroes. You are legends. You are protectors of freedom and of life.
And to those I know personally, to my brother who served in Desert Storm, to my dad and my uncles who served in Vietnam, to my cousins serving now. Thank you.
Who is Rachel?!?
Rachel Higginson is the author of The Five Stages of Falling in Love, Every Wrong Reason, The Star-Crossed Series, Love & Decay Novella Series and much more! She was born and raised in Nebraska, and spent her college years traveling the world. She fell in love with Eastern Europe, Paris, Indian Food and the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka, but came back home to marry her high school sweetheart. Now she spends her days writing stories and raising four amazing kids.
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