"Freedom's spark ignites the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human soul."
~ Ronald Reagan, June 4, 1984
I have witnessed first hand freedom's spark. I have seen it ignite the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human soul.
I thought I knew what it meant to love my country. I thought I understood and appreciated the sacrifices of the men and women who defend and protect this great country, past and present. Now that I have a son in the military my understanding of patriotism is so much greater. I have learned so much from the dedication and sacrifices my son has made over the last year. I am in awe at what freedom's spark has done to ignite my son's patriotism (and that of his classmates) to dedicate his life to one of the noblest aspirations of the human soul. It truly is inspiring to see young people of today do what they do for the future of the United States of America.
Here is a mother's reflections after her son reported for duty at the Naval Academy for his Plebe Year on July 2, 2008,
“ … a CDR we knew says to my son 'are you reporting for duty' and he says "yes Ma’am" and the LT says "kiss your Mom and shake your Dad's hand and hop in line. Your next life is about to begin", he says "Yes Ma”am" and salutes and in moments he was gone! The rest of the day just seemed to linger .... I just wanted to see him. There were just moments that we sat in a shaded area so I could cool off and said nothing to each other, we didn't need to we were both in our own pain. Then it was time to change, the swearing in was upon us. So to the car we went and out comes a uniform I haven't seen in such a long time, tropical summer whites, the Navy wears BDU’s now to work when in an operational command,. A long time ago 18 to be exact I was holding my son in my arms wearing a little cracker jack sailor jumper and we were standing there looking at my husband in this uniform toting only one small gold stripe and he says "what’s daddy doing?" I said "he is going in the Navy" and my son says as loud as could be "Navy, Navy, Navy" the room of Maritime Cadets just started laughing. Well it was now 18 years and 17 days later and I find myself in Smoke Hall at the United States Naval Academy with the same 2 men. This time there are many more bars on that Tropical Summer White Uniform and the little boy is now a man and once again wearing a Cracker Jack, but this time it is a real uniform and there he stands 6ft,1inches. Now they stand in front of an American Flag and the Father is administering to the son his oath of office. I don't know what destiny has to do with most of what has happened to that little boy and that man but yesterday it was though The man passed the light to the boy who has now become a man. We walked out of Bancroft Hall and visited with the other midshipmen and their parents that he attended prep school with and then the announcement was made to get into formation and just like that he was gone once again. He passed by me and I stood tall and strong no tears to shed for it is not for me to understand the passion or desire he has to be there but just to tell him "I love you and I am always here for you." We walked back to the car and he asked of me "what do you want to do now?" I said "Take me to my house" and he just nodded his head. As we drove through Gate 8 I said to him "thank you for doing that for him it meant so much." He just smiled and said with so many tears rolling down his cheeks "I am glad I did it and I could not be more proud of him he did it and I owed him that much and probably so much more" The drive to my house was very quiet."
The sacrifices of these families and all military families is so much of what makes this country great. God bless them for it!
Happy Birthday America!