Late last night, July 3rd, I went to a local church where they had a grand display of fireworks and fellowship for everyone in the community and surrounding areas. With the exception of food vendors, it was open and free to the public. Families and friends all walking enjoying a car show and kids having fun in a carnival-like atmosphere.

Many lawn chairs and blankets were lined across the grassy field to witness what many had come to see… a grand display of fireworks. And a grand display it was. As I sat there with my head looking straight up into the sky at the extraordinary technology that was blasting in my ears and my eyes, my 3 year old son was sitting there too. Eyes wide with tissue in his ear to protect him from the sound. Earlier he was laying on a blanket with his cousins and friends but had ran up to me shortly before the fireworks started to sit down in my lap. This was unusual since he does not usually like to pull himself away from the fun with the other kids. The fireworks began shortly after he sat there in my lap. Holding my arms with his head laid back on my shoulder amazed at fire and light that held no more meaning to him then blasting sound and light in the sky.

july 29 soldier hugging family 2 True Sacrifice   4th of July

I was appreciative. Appreciative of the fact that just a month ago I was arriving back home from a trip to Dallas, TX for work. As I was standing outside, before I began to walk to my car, I noticed a family of four. Standing beside a van was a wife. Kneeling and holding two children tightly with tears in his eyes was a father. A father battling to let go. Children with as much love in their voices as they had fear trying to hold on to their hero soldier.

You often see families in the paper say goodbye. You watch the news and witness highlight reels of  people holding on to their spouses, sons and daughters. This does not compare to being 15 feet away from a moment that cannot be captured through the lens of a video camera.

I tell you, I stood there for 10 minutes witnessing this moment. As I began to walk away the family of three was in the van. Wife standing outside not wanting to drive away. A father on his knees getting his gear and bags together trying to wipe away tears, the fear, and move on to the responsibility of what new battles he would face.

I don’t think anyone could have walked a way without tears. It made me more appreciative of what I have and what matters. I don’t always take the actions to show people in my life how important they are to me. That they mean more than hot dogs and barbecue. Are brighter in my life then lights on a July night.

Many of us do not blatantly thank those who allow us to enjoy these moment… an opportunity in a field, with their son to witness lights and sounds in a sky.

Time passes so quickly and is so precious that if you don’t appreciate what you have then it can be lost in passing.

Maybe this is time to take a step back… and slap yourself in the face… to wake up and no longer take things for granted.

Here’s to (y)our independence!

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