Independence Day celebrates the birthday of America and God’s greatest gift — our independence and freedom. It is a time for picnics, parades and fireworks, but it should also be a time for reflection.
As we commemorate the birth of our nation, we pay tribute to the selfless service of American men and women in uniform, past and present. Since 1775 they have defended the liberty in which our nation was conceived. They sustain that liberty today, giving hope to millions throughout the world.
I read somewhere that “to be born free is a privilege. To die free is an awesome responsibility.” I am honored to share with you, thoughts from those who assumed that awesome responsibility. Within the Kansas electric cooperative family, veterans from all branches of service work in every facet of the electric co-op industry. Here is sampling of their thoughts about Independence Day:
“The first thing to come to mind is the line in Lee Greenwood’s song, ‘God Bless the USA’ of ‘I won’t forget the men who died who gave that right to me.’ Fourth of July is our freedom as a nation and there were those who sacrificed their lives or limbs for us — we cannot ever take that for granted. Many in this world have never had the day-to-day freedoms we have, so a day to remember and to celebrate that freedom is a blessing!”
Western Cooperative Electric, WaKeeney | Customer Service
Sergeant (E-5) | U.S. Army Reserves | 388th Medsom | Served 1986-1992
“One of my favorite memories regarding July 4 comes from being stationed at Rota Naval Base in Spain. Most U.S. bases overseas fly the American flag year-round, but as Rota is a Spanish base (with Americans as invited guests), we only fly the stars and stripes a couple days out of the year, around the Fourth, with written permission from the Spanish Admiral. So, the flag raising is always a big deal — the Sailors, Marines and Airmen turn out for a big ceremony, followed by a Fourth of July fair and fireworks. It’s a taste of Americana, but in a very condensed time frame.”
Midwest Energy, Hays | Director of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs
Lieutenant Commander | U.S. Navy | Served Aug. 1989-Sept. 2012
“Independence Day is our opportunity to celebrate what a blessing it is to live in the USA. It is also a time to reflect on the struggles of other countries fighting to earn, or keep, their independence and of other peoples’ struggles for freedom from tyranny, torture and oppression. President Ronald Reagan stated, ‘Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, … ’ Like generations of my brothers and sisters in arms, I have stood watch on that line where you face the enemy and say, ‘This I will defend. You will not harm my country on my watch.’ The Fourth of July is a time to reflect on the price of freedom and to count our blessings.”
Lane-Scott Electric, Dighton | General Manager
Staff Sergeant | U.S. Army Chemical Corps Combat Veteran | Served 1983-1996
Freedom and liberty are not cheap and our soldiers of past and present, paid for every freedom we enjoy.