This is a bit off the beaten track from what I usually post here. However, there is something to be said for thanking God for the the freedoms we have in our great nation and the men and women who sacrifice so much to earn those freedoms for a sometimes ungrateful nation.
From time to time I forget how much I love being a citizen of the United States of America. With all the political chicanery, with all the infighting, with all the corruption, with all the violence, sometimes it's all too easy to forget what a great nation this is.
And then something reminds me. I watched Extreme Makover: Home Edition tonight. It's a repeat of an episode I've seen before, but it really touched me tonight. The man whose house they demolished and rebuilt is a Marine. During his second tour in Iraq he was the victim of an IED attack, and he lost his leg. He died twice on the way to the hospital, but obviously they brought him back both times. After he finally got home, his wife left him, leaving him the single parent of four children. So here's a man with a prosthetic leg who can't really get around his house, raising four kids on his own, working in a home garage to support his family.
When they were building the new house, some of the men from his unit were able to participate in the project--including the guy who wrapped the tourniquet around his leg to keep him from bleeding out. A number of Marines were there when the family came home, lining up along the road, saluting as they raised the US and Marine flags. Ordinary men and women become heroes when they put on those uniforms and step into the daily fight for freedom.
This Marine sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom. And when you realize that he's just one of many who daily sacrifice for the cause of freedom--leaving their families and jobs, working long hours in terrible conditions, sometimes giving up parts of themselves, sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice . . .
I know other nations have their own armed forces, but ours makes me proud to be an American. Thank you to all of you who have served with honor and with distinction. Though I may not always remember to say it, your hard work and sacrifices mean a great deal to me.