"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Let Freedom Ring!

I stood there with the camera around my neck, listening to the roar that was hiding in the pine trees. I turned my eyes skyward knowing full-well I was about to see what it could be. As the roar grew louder, I knew it was headed our direction. It was one of those moments where one actually feels the rumble vibrate in ones heart and literally takes ones breath away. I stood in awe as a (retired) U.S. Navy T-28 Trojan Trainer flew just yards above my head. You would think I could have grabbed that camera strapped to my neck and photographed a piece of history; but instead I just stood there watching, fighting back tears that suddenly sprang up and welled deep from within the place where that rumble had vibrated. It was - as Matt had learned a few years ago - the sound of freedom; and it began our Independence Day Celebration for 2010.

For the last two years a friend has invited us to a 4th of July Celebration that he plans and orchestrates each year. His name is Mel and he was a Colonel in the US Army, serving in 3 wars: World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam. My family got to know Mel, when he became a customer at our coffee shop a few years ago. He had recently lost his beloved wife of 60 + years and he often dropped in for a latte and a visit. We grew to love him. Col. Mel was very instrumental in encouraging Matt to go Military Academy rather than enlisted, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Colonel puts on an awesome celebration each year, opening with a bang from the black powder rifles of the CDA Muzzleloader Association, always dressed in period costume reminding of us of our nation's humble beginnings.

There is always a heartfelt, opening prayer; and wonderful music from local musicians. Usually Colonel will say a few words, encouraging us, and reminding us of the wonderful country in which we live. 

The local American Legion will present a 21 gun salute, in honor of our military that have served this country so well for so many generations.  Finally, everything winds up with a marvelous breakfast hosted by Mel at the Clubhouse.

For the last two years, due to Matt’s service in Civil Air Patrol, Mel has invited Matt to stand in Rank with the other military men that are present each year. It has been an incredible honor for Matthew, and really a highlight of our Independence Day experiences. This year, there was a Navy Officer; 2 Air Force Officers - one being a Red Beret, Combat Rescue Officer; and an Army First Sergeant; all present in Rank that Matthew was so very proud to join.

The music was presented by a wonderful group of singers and musicians that rang out several old-time Gospel tunes, keeping the audience clapping, and toe-tapping until they finished with America the Beautiful. Mel invited the children, to come out from the crowd to join him in leading the Pledge of Allegiance. We could tell this had become a tradition for many of the families, because their children - all dressed in patriotic red, white and blue - knew just what to do when it was their cue to participate.

Mel and his daughter made us both feel really special when they told us they wanted us to join them at their table for breakfast and neither would take no for an answer.  Matt and I both loved every minute of it.  We were also able to visit with other friends we had come to know while we had our book store and coffee shop, and Matt was able to visit with several of the Muzzleloaders that he knew when he was a member of that group.

It could not have been a better start to the week-end, thanks to that wonderful Army officer and gentleman who steadfastly reminds his friends each year of our nation's roots, birthday, and hard fought freedom for which we should rejoice!

Let Freedom Ring - It's Independence Day!!

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