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Celebrating Heroes Who
Give Us Life and Liberty
by Maricia Mlynek

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I believe that I love America for many reasons.

My love affair began when I was just a little girl. To me, freedom was portrayed through heroic characters and brave individuals. I grew up with some of the best story tellers in the world.

Ben Taylor, John Koci, and my mom were just a few of the masters. To them, I attribute my enthusiasm for legends and folklore, as well as a respect for history. While most seven-year- old girls were playing with Barbie and Ken, my dearest friend, Alyson, and I were crossing the Delaware.

I have never been lacking in imagination, and God knew I needed a friend that would co-sail the seas of fantasy. He gave me Alyson.

She portrayed General George Washington better than anyone could imagine. I would dare say that I made a pretty good Martha. When there was also the occasional need for a wounded or sick soldier, I could pull that off splendidly. We never thought too much about historic accuracy, but I think for a couple of country kids, we did a fine job.

Our siblings were often weary of our “revolutions” and “civil” conflicts. Little brother, Benjamin, was a mighty good native and took part in many an uprising on the Key Ridge hillsides. Blue Jacket and Tecumseh were rivaled with this young boy’s quick and agile ways.

When the war drums were beat, all knew to stay clear or become captive of the tyrant tribe playing in Jerry’s hayfield, looking for turncoats or betrayers. I believe my older sister Mellody was subject to “prisoner of war” once. She was held for a ransom of Grammy’s homemade bread.

For us, it was play. Our forts were everything from tires to Papa’s little wooden shed. We celebrated history in our many games. Dress up for two little girls usually means high heels and hats. For Alyson and I, it was often uniforms and weapons--which depended upon the era we were representing.

I believe that those were defining days for me. I grew to love the past and to respect those that blazed the paths of our America.

The Fourth of July will be celebrated this weekend. Remember, as you barbecue and watch fireworks, that our Nation celebrates its birthday due to characters and heroes that did more than fill the pages of our history books. They filled the hearts of young adventurers and made childhood dreams possible. My hope is that they still do today.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Pursue your happiness in things that are priceless--the people you love, the memories you have made, and the history you can make each day.

Remember that our liberty and freedom has not come cheaply. Many a man and woman are still wearing a uniform to protect us today. They too are becoming the legends children will someday portray.

Thanks to them, Happy Fourth of July to all, and Happy Birthday, America.

The following lyrics are for those still in the battle and protecting our precious liberty   . . . you are the heroes of our freedom. We still believe. Make it home. Make it safe:

“Letters From War”
lyrics by Mark Schultz and co-writer Cindy Lavonne Morgan

She walked to the mailbox

On that bright summer’s day

Found a letter from her son

In a war far away

He spoke of the weather

And good friends that he’d made

Said I’d been thinking ‘bout dad

And the life that he had

That’s why I’m here today

And at the end he said

You are what I’m fighting for

It was the first of his letters from war

She started writing

You’re good and you’re brave

What a father that you’ll be someday

make it home

make it safe

She wrote every night as she prayed

Late in December

A day she’ll not forget

Oh her tears stained the paper

With every word that she read

It said “I was up on a hill

I was out there alone

When the shots all rang out

And bombs were exploding

And that’s when I saw him

He came back for me

And though he was captured

A man set me free

And that man was your son

He asked me to write to you

I told him I would, oh I swore”

It was the last of the letters from war

And she prayed he was living

Kept on believing

And wrote every night just to say

You are good

And you’re brave

what a father that you’ll be someday

Make it home

Make it safe

Still she kept writing each day

Then two years later

Autumn leaves all around

A car pulled in the driveway

And she fell to the ground

And out stepped a captain

Where her boy used to stand

He said “mom, I’m following orders

From all of your letters

And I’ve come home again,”

He ran into hold her

And dropped all his bags on the floor

Holding all of her letters from war

Make it Home

Make it Home

Make it Home

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