Since you won’t be able to hear me over all of the fireworks, I better write this down. If the freedom of anyone depended on me not going to a war zone but “merely” making it through military training, the outcome wouldn’t be ideal. Translation? We would all be living in bondage. I have never been to war. I have never killed anyone. I have never even held a gun. I’m not the biggest fan of being outside for an extended period of time when the weather isn’t perfect. I don’t like to get dirty, and I whine a lot when I’m tired. I can’t stand the heat and generally leave the kitchen—unless I’m baking. However, I have the freedom to be less-than-Rosie and more like Betty because of those who have served, and are currently serving, in the military. I have seen movies about Army soldiers, Navy Seals, and Marines, but as realistic as those movies may seem, I have been shielded from experiencing such situations. I could spout off words within sentences within paragraphs within pages of information about charities to donate your time, care packages, and money in support of our troops, and at the end of the article I’ll share a few. But in my opinion, appreciating our freedoms to their fullest potential is the most charitable thing a person can do to thank our military men and women.
Humor aside, whether you feel it to be true or not, we live in a free country. A country where you can worship however you choose, purchase whatever you want (including land) with your hard-earned money, and continue your education at eighty-five years of age. Since we are completely comfortable with our daily routine, we never stop to think that what we consider normal could actually be a luxury. Although it is against the law to drive without wearing a seatbelt, it is not against the law for women to drive. There may be a mountain of paperwork to fill out before the keys to your new house are handed over, but owning one is quite accessible. There are some unfortunate quarrels, but there is no law stating that you can or can’t worship in your own way. I believe in God while my neighbor prays to Allah. Anyone of age can own a gun. There may be a handful of concerns on the ease of obtaining a firearm, but it’s not illegal. It’s more difficult to get a carrying permit, but it’s not impossible. I may get completely distracted by his overly dramatic, cascading, silver locks to intently pay attention to his ideals, but Donald Trump is free to speak his mind—as is anyone in this country. There may be negative repercussions, and the popular kids may shun you, but if you openly hate [insert your personal political statement here] it’s (usually) not going to get you killed. These are freedoms that not everyone has the pleasure of knowing.
We live in a hand-shaped state, and hands help each other out: whether we reach those hands out to lift someone up from the depths of despair, bring those hands together to pray for things that we, ourselves, can’t fix, or use those hands to build a new foundation to improve the lives of our military personnel who used their hands to fight for freedoms we take for granted, we have to be willing to use our hands to bear some of the weight. We ALL know someone who served, or is currently serving, in the military. They fight for our everyday routines to continue to be free. To these men and women, witnessing evil, shooting an enemy with the face of a child, and death are their everyday routines. We may have a lot more to fight about, but our freedoms aren’t actually free. There are hidden fees and someone has to pay the price.
A Couple Ways to Help:
An organization that I was just recently introduced to is HeroBox. It’s more than sending an encouraging thank you letter or collecting old cell phones. It allows you to directly support an individual who is currently deployed. Be aware that it is an on-going commitment rather than a one-time donation.
The Wounded Warrior Project helps soldiers through their ordeals as well as after-the-fact. By donating you’ll be helping to continue aftercare programs and give support to not only the post-9/11 warriors but their families as well.
Have a safe and happy fourth, Michiganians!
– Rebecca Battles, Contributing Writer