4th of July gives us freedom to enjoy blessings

Published 5:00 am Thursday, July 1, 2004

Thinking about the Fourth of July and how much these UnitedStates of America have been blessed by God. As we celebrate ournation’s birthday, enjoy a cookout with your family and watch abaseball game. While enjoying that extra day off, pause andremember our men and women in the armed forces who are working 24/7to keep us free.

We can proudly sing our National Anthem any time of the day. Wedon’t have to duck deadly bullets or avoid terrorist bombs beforekicking back in our favorite recliner with a dish of ice creamcooling our bulging waistlines.

Our nation is fat and sassy, living the good life. The world, ingeneral, despises the USA. We are the infidels. Given anopportunity, the enemy would love to bomb us.

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Again, dear people, thank God for the many blessings andfreedoms we take for granted. Sound redundant?

Don’t take your freedoms for granted.

Go where you wanna go, do what you wanna do.

A familiar lyric from the 1960s rings true today. We’ve got thewheels and we’ve got the gas. Vacations give us time to travel andenjoy our great nation’s natural beauty. From sea to shining sea.From the mountains, to the prairies.

Then think about the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting inair.

On the other side of the world, in Iraq and Afghanistan, thebombs and RPGs are real. They are aimed at our young men and women.These American soldiers are standing in harm’s way for us,preserving our way of life.

Two summers ago I remember talking to a group of young men whowere going to be seniors at Enterprise. This trio had been throughboot camp in the Army reserve before returning for preseasonfootball practice.

Yeah, football was just a game and they shared high hopes for agreat season. It was fun. Boot camp was tough. You learned how tosurvive, how to avoid the enemy’s ambush and bullets.

Certainly, basic training had matured these young soldiers. Yes,they were still teens who were thinking about high schoolhomecomings and graduation.

While visiting with new Co-Lin head football coach Glenn Davislast week, a former Co-Lin running back stopped by the office tosay hello. It was Ronnell McDaniel of Franklin County, dressed inmilitary fatigues. Yes, he was shipping out, headed for Iraq.

We shook hands, wished him well and offered up a silent prayerfor his safe return. Certainly, football seems far, far away fromwar.

Another local hero is Richard Swaney of Bogue Chitto, a husbandand father who is serving with the military police in Baghdad. Likehis compatriots, he deals with deadly danger every day.

This war in Iraq touches the hearts and minds of more Americanseach day. Many Mississippians are in the Marines, on the spearpoint, where the action is the hottest and most fierce.

Each of us has a relative or loved one affected by the war. Ayoung enlistee, call him Joey, graduated from Harrison Central HighSchool in Gulfport in May. Joey spent part of his high school yearsin a foster home.

It was a strong Christian home and Joey became active in achurch family. He even expressed an interest in surrendering hislife to the ministry.

Like most young men, Joey first wanted a taste of the realworld. He enlisted in the Marines. We pray that the world won’tchew Joey up and spit him out in some hostile desert. Thankfully,he will have a family of Marines to support him, plus lots ofprayers.

When you watch your children and grandchildren playing withfireworks this weekend, keep a watchful eye on them. Take time tostress the importance of safety first. Then take a moment to thankGod for the showers of blessings our creator has bestowed onus.

Wear red on Fridays. There is a national, grass roots movementunder way to honor our military men and women by wearing somethingred on Fridays. You don’t have to carry signs in a rally or wave aflag at a parade. Simply WEAR SOMETHING RED every Friday.

Boston Butts for sale: Members of the Co-Lin football teamcontinue their fund-raising efforts this week. They are sellingover 200 frozen Boston Butts at $20 each. Precooked on an opengrill, they taste delicious.

All proceeds go toward the purchase of travel suits for theWolfpack squad.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O. Box551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or e-mail sports@dailyleader.com