As we pause to celebrate Independence Day, it would serve all of us to remember the value of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. In no other place in the history of mankind have ordinary people enjoyed the gifts, opportunities and rewards that this great nation affords its citizens. And, whether or not we agree with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we should be grateful to the men and women who serve in our Armed Forces and place their lives on the line to secure the freedoms we so often take for granted. As Father Dennis Edward O'Brian, a former U. S. Marine Corps Chaplain once wrote:
"It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag."