Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

July 2, 2012

OUR VIEW: The Fourth is about freedom

GLASGOW — This Fourth of July as we all watch fireworks and eat at backyard barbecues, we need to remember what the holiday is really about — honoring the sacrifices of those who have allowed all of us to maintain our rights and independence.

U.S. troops have pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq as 10 years of conflict wind down. This is an historic moment for the military, despite the fact that American troops will remain oversees for years. The troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have sacrificed much for their country.

Some U.S. soldiers remain in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide assistance and advice to native troops who are now in charge of the security of much of their own countries. Our soldiers continue the transition from being active on the frontlines of combat to being advisors in those countries.

Our soldiers have been in combat zones in the Middle East for a decade. More than 6,400 soldiers have given their lives during fighting in the two countries, along with countless Iraqi and Afghani citizens who died as their countries struggl toward establishing freedoms and rights, much as the U.S. did in 1776.

The events of the last decade should allow all of us the chance to teach the true meaning of Independence Day to the youth of our community. While taking the children to all the fun events throughout the area, talk to them about why it’s important to remember the freedoms they have in the U.S. and to remember the country’s founders who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the soldiers who have fought to protect those rights.

We need to remember the current troops as well as those from the past who have gone abroad to fight and who have died to protect the freedoms that every American enjoys. Our independence is not possible without sacrifice.

In addition, those of us at the Glasgow Daily Times want to wish everyone a safe holiday. Be careful when driving or setting off fireworks. The Fourth of July is traditionally one of the most dangerous holidays in terms of fatal accidents and there are often injuries associated with children playing with sparklers and other fireworks.

Enjoy the holiday and be safe, while thinking about those who have given so much to enable it.

Parts of this editorial were first published in part in the Glasgow Daily Times on July 5, 2009.

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