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Columnist: For the love of liberty

Monday is July 4, Independence Day.

A day that belongs to all of us who are citizens of our country. It is uniquely ours. There will be barbecues and watermelon, parades and flags waving to bands playing.

Friends and relatives will gather to enjoy the middle of the summer on their day off. Fishing, swimming, golfing or lazing in the sun rule the day. When night falls, the children will cover their ears and gaze up to the sky to watch a rain of colored sparkles cascade down to the earth.

It is a day when most of us choose to do what we want. It is our day. We earned it. Right?

No, we didn’t earn it. Our forefathers did. The only fireworks going off then were the sounds of guns being fired in the distance and fear ruled the day. They fought hard for us to be able to take this day to do what we want. They gave us the freedom that many take for granted.

These brave immigrants came to this land to establish a country where there would be no religious persecution or tyrannical government. They stood tall against the fear of the unknown to give us a future of liberty, equality and hope for all.

Since that day in 1776, soldiers have given their lives to save and protect our country. While we are enjoying our slice of melon on the back porch there is a soldier somewhere who would just like a day to not hear the sounds of anguish, war and death.

We, as a nation, love our country. We love our independence and freedom, but do we do enough personally for America? We pass blame around like a tennis ball on steroids. We blame our political leaders, our conservative friends, our liberal cousins, but the reality is that to keep our freedom alive why don’t we just start looking into ourselves.

For quite a while, I have noticed a real problem with many of us trying to categorize people into little defined brackets. They are black, they are white, they are Christian, they are Jewish, they are — it goes on and on.

The name calling is incessant. We are so obsessed with this that we have forgotten the very thing that will insure our liberty.

It is the understanding in the belief that we are all Americans. We are brothers and sisters belonging to a land that we love. We can reside together with different opinions and lives, but we can’t reside together if we are consumed with hatred and divisiveness. We can’t keep pouring gasoline on vitriol, because the fire will inflame us all.

Let’s go back and visit the tranches where our soldiers are battling an enemy.

Shots are being fired at and around them. They are a platoon entrenched together and if one in the platoon doesn’t do what is required it could take the group down. Rain is falling and the sky is black from smoke. A comrade has been hit! “Medic, Medic!!!”

Do you think at that point in time there is one person in that horrific place who gives a hoot whether the fellow beside him is black, white, conservative, liberal or anything else other than an American? The only bracket they are in is the muddy trench.

I am constantly frustrated at the folks who can talk the talk about our country. They can tell you exactly what is wrong and how to fix it. I think we all have our theories and can expound on them.

Some can say contemptible things in the name of politics and poke their chest out as they do. They are proud Americans! However, if you ask any of them if they called their Congressman, or wrote a letter, or sent an email to share their views with those that matter, the majority just look up guiltily to the sky and say, “I need to do that!” How’s that working to make a change?

Let’s love our country and our fellow citizens enough to pick up a phone, to write a letter or help someone in need. Let’s love our children and grandchildren enough to try to help save our country so that they can have the freedom to be anything they choose in life.

Did you know it is so much easier to hate than to love? Did you know that when we do not respect another’s beliefs or thoughts we do not respect our right to have beliefs? Did you know that when we harbor hate or resentment toward a fellow American because he/she is different from us that we are destroying the very foundation of why we have the freedom to be different?

So, on this July 4th, as you are watching the sparkles reflect in your children’s eyes, take a moment and think — how can I use my freedom, my liberty to make my country a better place? If we all did that, we would ensure that the bands will keep playing on a distant July 4th and the red, white and blue will still be flying high above our land.

God bless you all and God bless this country.

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Lynn Walker Gendusa

Contributing columnist

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former LaGrange resident who currently resides in Roswell.