One of my fondest summer memories was every 4th of July when the whole town (at least I always thought about it that way :)) would gather on the hillside of the City Recreation Center to watch the fireworks show. They would blare music from big speakers at the bottom of the hill while my brother, sister, I and a thousand of our closest friends would sit on the slope and enjoy the colorful display.
I've always been a sucker for a sentimental song. And each year as I lay on that hillside watching the lively explosions overhead, my favorite part was when they played Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American". I know, I know! Cheesy yes, but it was always my favorite part.
I confess that in the past I haven't given much thought to the celebration of Memorial Day. But this year the well-known chorus of that song is stirring my heart. "And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me."
It stirs my heart because I've experienced countries where they don't enjoy freedoms like we Americans do. Not free to worship as they choose. Not free to speak publicly as they believe.
It stirs my heart as I look at my two sons and think of what might be in store for them.
And it stirs my heart because on April 28, 2010 Lance Corporal Thomas Rivers gave his life fighting for freedom in Afghanistan. His sweet family knew that Thomas was ready to give his life and they know that he is praising his Creator and Savior in Eternity, but I know the tears and pain are still very fresh. Thank you Rivers family for your sacrifice. Thank you for walking faithfully since Thomas's home-going. A thousand times Thank You!
April 28th is marked on the Corley family calendar. As a mother I want to be sure that my boys "won't forget the men who died" to defend our freedoms. Thank you Thomas Rivers!