Friday, July 6, 2007

I pause to say "thank you"

As Independence Day just ended, I am aware of a number of thoughts and emotions;

Our Country's Freedom was bought at a steep price. Hundreds of Thousands of lives have been sacrificed to gain, protect and further the cause of Freedom and Human Rights. Regardless of your political views, on this day we should join together to say "thank you" for all those lives that gained this freedom.

My Grandfather, who was full blooded Japanese, served in the US military. I remember with a smile his recounting that early in his tenure, his CO asked if anyone could cook? He volunteered that he could cook a little and just like that, he joined the "cook staff." Due to a number of reasons, mainly that he suffered from terrible migraines, he was granted an honorable discharge. Then Pearl Harbor hit and all of a sudden the "Japanese Americans" became the enemy. My grandfather was able to keep him and his young family out of the internment camps but that too, came at a steep price as he lost property, possessions and peace of mind. He changed the family name from "Nishimura" to "Weston" to help protect his loved ones. If anyone had a right to be upset with the country he loved, he did. And yet...to his dying day, he remained the most patriotic man I know, and I never heard him once complain of the treatment he received during the war.

There are a million stories like this one - lives that were lost, sacrificed, some voluntarily, some not - all contributing towards gaining and keeping the freedoms we have in the United States. To all of those men and women, this young man and his wife say "thank you." It hardly seems enough, but let us never forget the price that was paid as we celebrated Independence Day on Wednesday.

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