This is the time of year when we get excited about fireworks, about grilling out, and about finding a way to relax on the Fourth. It’s also the time for us to take a moment to reflect on our great country, and the great Americans who keep the engine of freedom running.
When we think of great Americans, who are they? Sometimes they are dramatic heroes. Former President George W. Bush writes about the heroism displayed on Flight 93 on September 11th. According to his book “Decision Points”, he writes that the passengers on that flight decided to storm the cockpit after hearing about attacks in phone calls from loved ones on the ground.
The former President writes, “In some of the last words recorded from the doomed flight, a man named Todd Beamer can be heard rallying the passengers into action by saying “Let’s Roll”.” The former President goes on to write that, “the 9/11 Commission later concluded that the revolt may have spared either the Capitol or the White House from destruction.”
While some great Americans are dramatic heroes, others are members of the military who serve our country, even on the 4th of July.
Just recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a Nebraska native from Shelby who is a Marine now serving in Afghanistan. He noted that while we will enjoy the Fourth here at home, he and his colleagues will also appreciate the day. That’s because he and his fellow soldiers take pride in knowing they are on duty to protect our freedom, so we can celebrate it here on the homefront.
Sometimes I think, though, that some of the greatest Americans are those men and women who simply do the right thing everyday. They are the people who get up every morning at 5 a.m. and drive 30 miles to teach school (like my Dad did). They are the people who pay their taxes on time, every time—even though they wish they could get a little break. And, they are the people who are much more willing to give than to receive, and when they give, they would rather remain anonymous than get recognition. These kinds of great Americans are standing right beside you.
On this Fourth of July, it’s only right to remember the great Americans, and to remember that we can all do our part to maintain the great American tradition.