aggieThank you!  Really.  A heartfelt thank you goes out to each and every one of you who, over the course of the last few days, has proudly displayed your American Flag.  Yes, tradition has it that we hang her during the days surrounding Memorial Day but something happens for some between Memorial Day and July 4th.  Some seem to get lost.  So refreshing it is to see them.  Gosh, I’m amazed at how creative some of you are.  In fact, I like the redneck display of ‘ol Betsie.  I won’t name names but you’d find his truck parked at Eagle Hardware and if you’d have seen it this past week, you’d see two small American flags zip tied to his brush guard on the front of his truck.  What creativity.

I like seeing the flag flown.  AND, I don’t like seeing the flag defaced, burn, and made a mockery of.  Yes, I’m all for free speech and all but just because we have the right to do something doesn’t mean we ought to.  And as much as is being said about the confederate flag, I sure wish more were said about encouraging the flying of the Stars and Stripes.  How is it that things get so convoluted when the Supreme Court rules one way or the other?  Last time I checked, some greater power upstairs had the final say on all matters … just saying.

I like keeping things simple and being reminded of how grateful I should be that we have our independence.  I am often reminded of the man I met in Steyr, Austria ten years ago or so.  As we hosted a team of volunteers from Texas A&M (WHOOP!!!), the group walked down into town from our home.  As they did, each one of them spoke, “Howdy” to the older gentleman walking a little slower up the path.  When I approached him, I smiled and greeted him in German.  He quickly deduced I was with the group and asked me about them.  He wanted to know where they were from and why they were in Steyr and not in Vienna or Salzburg or some other touristy area.  As I explained to him, I found myself apologizing for the boisterous greeting and wished him well.  He told me I should not apologize for them and that he was very grateful for America and its citizens.  I asked, “Oh you’ve been there?”  No he informed me. My curiosity was deafening.  “Why then?” His answered will stick with me the rest of my life.

As a young soldier fighting in a war, “not of his choosing”, he was stationed in France during the summer of 1944.  As fate would have it, he was shot by an American soldier and then attended to by an American medic.  He told me had he not be shot, he would have joined his unit as they were redeployed in Russia where none returned home.  He believed it was because he was shot by an American and cared for by another American that he was alive 60 years later.  He was proud of what American did and for what she stands.

And so there his story brings me back to yesterday and the past couple of weeks.  I enjoy being an American and am thankful for my freedom.  If someone who has never been here before and had the circumstances as he had still be grateful for America, holy schmoly I better too!  We do have an amazing freedom nowhere else on this earth greater!  For it, I am grateful.  I pray you are as well!  And the next time you see a man walking with a cane, think of the Austrian I just mentioned, I do.  And when I do, I am reminded of how great a freedom we have.