Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
Independence Day for Our Nation
Today, we celebrate.
We recognize something never before seen in the history of the world. A nation founded on the notion that each of us is born free. We secured the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Today, we call that being an American. Our Founding Fathers called it a Blessing. In England, they called it treason.
Imagine what it must have been like to be in the Second Continental Congress that day. Looking back, we consider the men standing in that room as heroes of a new nation. We admire their vision and courage. My guess is that “hero” was not how they would characterize themselves in that moment. War having already started, they were actively defying the greatest empire on the planet. They were not just fighting a far superior adversary, they were inviting the horror of war to their towns, on their farms, and into their homes. They were risking their families. We may not discern emotion from signatures on the Declaration of Independence, but as a husband and father myself, I can only imagine that one of the emotions they felt was fear.
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is knowing that every step forward is a step further into the abyss – and demonstrating the resolve to take that step anyway. Did they know that our nation would become the pillar of freedom for the next two and half centuries? Did they know that the nation they founded would fight tyranny and defend the liberty of people around the world? Of course not. What they wanted for themselves was something more – it was freedom for themselves and their families. It was worth the risk. To them, the price of doing nothing was higher than the cost of fighting to be free.
Independence Day for the Veteran
Independence Day is about all of who we are and aspire to become. The symbol of the very best in our nation is not a piece of cloth or a sheet of paper, it is our fighting Soldier. Our military stands today – as it has since the birth of our nation – to represent the courage, the yearning for liberty and freedom that stood in those musty halls of Philadelphia. Today, we ask men and women to volunteer to step into the abyss and carry forward the hope that inspired the men of from that Second Continental Congress.
Our military assumes the struggle in this world for us and our posterity. Today, we call them Veterans. We see them as heroes. In their own minds, they see themselves as imprisoned. Perhaps one of the most pernicious forms of oppression is the kind you don’t see except in your own thoughts, dreams, and memories. The price for a world without tyranny is the pain too many veterans struggle with every day. The adversary you bring back home seems daunting. Because you don’t understand it, because you can’t control it, fear and anxiety make you cower in its presence. In the battle to retain the very blessings of liberty, you become shackled in your own prison of despair.
Independence Day is a time to recognize the journey to freedom. No, it isn’t easy. Here is something to think about: Independent doesn’t mean alone. For my fellow veterans out there, you are not alone. I am not suggesting that the path is easy, but this is not a fight you need to take on your own. You already did the hard work. Let’s work together to discover a better life for yourself. You can break free from the shackles of despair. By yourself, it seems hard. Sometimes too hard. But you are not alone – we are all here with you. Together, let’s declare our independence from the burdens of guilt, shame, and regret. Maybe we can’t do it alone, but together, we can emerge from the shadows to discover the blessings in the life we fought to protect. Be encouraged. You can overcome. We are here with you. We stand together, and together, we will achieve victory.
Today, let’s celebrate our Independence Day.
Stop Soldier Suicide stands with our service members, Veterans, and families to help them discover their own, unique path to a life of empowerment. If you are a veteran, let’s work together to discover that path. If you are a family member, let us help you find that path for yourself and your family.