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July 9, 2008

Once Upon Stripes And Stars

Fourth of July was different for me this year. Celebrating the independence of our country rang hollow. The liberty, justice and freedom celebrated since 1776 has lost its significant and magnificence. The pride and celebrations of prior Fourth of July celebrations compelled the patriot in me to stand at attention saluting my country. This year the fireworks and revelry fizzled in the darkness. What I will remember this Fourth of July 2008 is the smear of oil that covers our flag and the blood dripping from it. What I will remember is the hurt and harm did to the thousands of troops and their families who have, and are still paying, the ultimate price.

I currently reside 16 miles from Fort Hood Texas. The lives of troops and their families affected by this unjust war is collateral damage that is sucking the life out of them and out of this country. My community is filled with children left parentless. There is no consideration given for them as they watch both parents sent into combat zones. The schools are wrought with emotional and psychological problems from once happy children now tormented by fear, anger and anxiety. Where is the independence in this? On any given day I meet someone who is now a widow or widower, a parent who has lost their son or daughter. Where is the independence in this? I pull into the gas station and see families of the troops who gave their limbs and life struggle to put fuel in their cars. Where is the justice? I hear the stories of delayed benefits, substandard medical care and the stigma that haunts returning troops who dare to complain. Where is the freedom? I walk down the aisles of the commissary and the PX and shake my head in shame at the continual increases in groceries and merchandise. Once a star in the crown of the military these two places helped military families live a better quality of life. The corporate practices of cutting hours and benefits of employees while rewarding management is now common practice. No regard for the customer or the troops that return with less then they left with. Where is the justice or independence?

This Fourth of July was different for me. Dependence on big oil, recession, cherry picking of my human and civil rights through the patriot act, desertion of the troops and their families who serve this country as they go without the basic necessities and the erosion of respect for America around the world has snuffed out the fireworks.

The memory of a holiday that stood for justice and liberty of all has been sullied by a rough administration and its policies. Will Fourth of July ever be the same?

What do you think and what do you think we can do to fill the skies once again with fireworks that set our hearts afire with freedom and justice for all?

Comments and thoughts ... Email PatriciaStatue of Liberty

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