Freedom isn't free!
Freedom isn't free!
You gotta pay the price
You gotta sacrifice
For your liberty.
So said the song on my father's Up With People album when I was a kid.
I used to hum that tune all the time, and this year it's come back to me. Maybe it's because my wife and I were in Boston last weekend and did the Freedom Walk, visiting those pre-revolutionary sites and reminding ourselves of that city's great history (before sampling absolutely AWESOME cannoli from Mike's Pastry in the north end).
I am one of those people the polar opposites of politics derides: I'm a moderate. I am as likely to vote my party as not; I'm one of those swing voters presidential candidates love to court. I'm a big fan of the political process, but not a big fan of politics. I vote in nearly every election, and have even when we've lived overseas. I watch political conventions (of both parties) and debates.
I appreciate that part of the strength of our union is also what strains it: the taking of sides, arguing of position, debate of views -- all those help to refine our direction.
I'm grateful for family members, friends and others who serve in our military. I'm grateful for the rule of law.
I have no Mormon pioneers in my genealogy; my parents were converts to the church long after wagon trains headed west. But we have plenty of American pioneers -- some who settled Virginia in the 1600s, some who settled the Pacific Northwest in the 1800s. While many of our immigrants came before this was a nation, others came in the great waves of immigration in the late nineteenth century.
When I was in high school, I spent a summer as an exchange student in Germany. Before I left, my father told me he suspected I'd find a lot of wonderful things in Germany -- and many might even seem much better than the US. He cautioned me, however, not to judge my home country too harshly. His counsel was wise (and maybe not even needed -- I was in the summer before my senior year and probably less aware of the world than he gave me credit for).
I later served my mission in Germany, and then have lived with my family in Latin America and twice in Asia. Each time, as happy as I was to be where I was, I've been happier to come home.