Wednesday, July 4, 2012

God Bless America

Young Washington- for Boys' Life Magazine

Last night I had an interesting experience that reminded me why I feel so blessed to be an American. We were at the airport welcoming home a family member when my brother in law struck up a conversation with a soldier in uniform. Turns out he was making his way home for a surprise visit with his family and his ride from the airport had fallen through. We had room in our van and his destination wasn't that far out of our way, so I offered to give him a lift. During the drive I learned a lot about this man named Tim. I learned that he was a 36 year military veteran currently serving in the U.S. Air Force. That he was a Major and that he had recently served a year long deployment to Afghanistan. But what impacted me more than his record of dedicated service was the fact that he was not born an American citizen. Tim told us the story of how he was born in South Africa and moved to the United States with his family when he was sixteen. He shared his love for this country and it's unlimited possibilities. He recalled that on seventeenth birthday, which coincidentally falls on the fourth of July,  he hiked to the top of Mt. Olympus. This ten thousand foot peak overlooks the Salt Lake Valley and there he watched the fireworks and marveled at how great this country is. Shortly thereafter, he made the commitment to serve his newly adopted nation and has been protecting our freedom ever since. He told us of how different things are in all the places he served and how so many of us take for granted the life we enjoy here. After arriving at the home of a friend where was to borrow a car to make it home, I thanked him for his service and wished him well. the drive home was filled with contemplation and gratitude. I needed that encounter to remind me that freedom is not free and how grateful we should be to live in this land and for the valiant men and women who safeguard our families and liberty. Thank you Tim and God Bless America!

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