Freedom isn't free,
Freedom isn't free,
You've got to pay a price,
You've got to sacrifice,
For your liberty.
- Paul Colwell
Every time I hear these lyrics they make me stop, think . . . and thank.
It's funny that on Independence Day my thoughts often dwell on dependence. As an American, I like to think of myself as self-made. I am the product of my labors. But that's not altogether true. I'm the product of much more than that.
Great men and women with vision, courage, and strength spent their lives to lay the foundation I stand on today.
We often look back on the founding fathers who thought and fought to form the United States. They were amazing people who did incredible things, yet even they built on a previous foundation. The foundation laid by the pioneering families who journeyed from Europe to settle in America, the deep thinking of philosophers and religious figures, and the careful work of historians to preserve the stories of other civilizations.
We stand, today, not on the shoulders of giants. We stand on the shoulders of the shoulders of the shoulders of the shoulders . . . in one giant pyramid of ideas, inventions, laws, societies, and civilizations. Except this is an upside-down pyramid. It doesn't get smaller at the top, instead it expands outward and upward. Our reach is so much greater than our forefathers.
And we don't have to look to history. Just look around us: the soldiers who defend us; the police who protect us; the firefighters and medical staff who save us; the engineers and technicians who bring electricity and water and communication to our homes; the farmers, ranchers, and fishermen who provide our food; the drivers and planners and workers who deliver goods to the stores; the parents and teachers who raise up the next generation; and I can't forget the writers and publishers who help us see the world in different ways. To the vast army of men and women who make it possible for me to sit here in my home with my kids and write this blog post, I say "Thank You".
Thank you for your sacrifice--for the price you've paid to keep us free. Yes, I know that many of the people I mentioned are just doing their job and getting paid for it. But how much is a human life worth? $10 an hour? $100? $1000? I submit that every one of these people sacrifice to perform a duty that benefits us all. And because of this Dependence, we can enjoy our Independence.
Happy Independence Day.
* I loved these pictures so much, I had to include both of them. The amazing photo of the construction worker was taken by Saad Ahktar. It portrayed so much of what I wanted to say in this post. And the freight train photo was taken by Hunter Desportes. It reminded me of the apocryphal story about the width of the space shuttle being based on Roman chariots. The story isn't true, but it's still a good story.