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Freedom Is Not Free

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it, and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform, So young, so tall, so proud
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil? How many mothers' tears?
How many Pilots' planes shot down?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, Freedom is not free.
I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play and felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children, of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands with interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard at the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, Freedom isn't free!!
God Bless America

--Author Unknown

Independence from England was not the original goal of the American colonists,
but was an alternative outcome accepted only as a last resort.
In fact, as late as June of 1775 Thomas Jefferson, the author of
the Declaration of Independence, wrote "I am sincerely one of those...
who would rather be in dependence on Great Britain, properly limited,
than on any other nation on earth, or than on no nation."
The colonists complaints were not against the government, but rather the
advisors who they felt were wrongly influencing the King and the Parliament.
The colonists' expectations were not met, and and on July 2, 1776 Congress officially dissolved it's political bonds with England. The Declaration of Independence was ratified on July 4, and the United States became official.

As early as 1777 the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence was celebrated with ringing bells, candles in the windows, bonfires, and fireworks. Over the years with increasing technology, these celebrations have gotten more spectacular and different cultures have integrated their own celebrations, but the basics of the celebration have, and probably always will be, the same.

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