Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Price of Freedom

My family loves celebrating the Fourth of July.  The grilling, watermelon, swimming, and staying up ate are all great. Some members of our family even like the fireworks.  Our youngest daughter has never really enjoyed the noise, but sometimes stops hiding long enough to marvel at the colors in the sky.  My husband used to love fireworks, but the past two years haven't been the same.  What's changed?  He paid a price for freedom that no one warned us about.

Three years ago, our family celebrated the holiday as usual while my husband was in Iraq helping others regain their freedom.  He did well adapting back into a normal life when he returned, but had a difficult time hearing some of the whistling fireworks.  They reminded him of the noises he last heard in a desert where life was dangerous to say the least.  All in all, the day went well and he was able to bounce back after those fireworks were finished.

This year was even harder than last.  We spent our holiday at a friends house and drove a short distance to get to a place to see the fireworks display.   On the way there, someone didn't see us driving up and threw a small firecracker into the street near our car.  While waiting for the show, people shot off crazy amounts of firecrackers all around us.  After the show, we drove back through the neighborhood, dodging kids, trash and even more firecrackers.   By the time we made it out of the neighborhood, my husband was lost in his memories.

When I think of freedom, veterans always come to my mind.  Whether they stayed stateside during their enlistment or went overseas, whether they lived to tell their stories or paid the ultimate sacrifice, they give up so much for Americans and those they defend around the world.  I find it ironic that the very way we celebrate our freedom can be harmful and bring back terrible memories for the men and women who helped guarantee that freedom for the rest of us.  Next year when you sit down to enjoy your displays, please remember those people for whom fireworks will never be the same.

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