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Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day, the day we celebrate our country’s freedom, and (hopefully) pause long enough to say a prayer for our brave men and women in harm’s way today. For the families who find it bittersweet to celebrate, grill hamburgers and hotdogs, and watch fireworks today.

In my home, every day is Independence Day.

[And no, not because I artfully ignore directives dear hubby gives me, just because I can. There was a reason I took 'obey' out of my marriage vows.]

Our Patriotic Tree began as a belated post-Christmas plan to redecorate it for the seasons. Four months later, it still needed a season. Memorial Day approached, quickly followed by The Fourth of July. So, I chose red, white, and blue.

Just because.

But, as I decorated my tree, I began to think of our troops and their families. Those together for a short window before deploying, and those already deployed. Those families mourning the loss or injury of a loved one. Those wounded troops, scarred by battle, back on USA soil. Those who bravely fought and sacrificed and safely returned.

And, the SEASON jumped to REASON.

A reminder, a reason to pause each day and remember; to say a prayer of gratitude to and safe return hope for our troops. Just because we, as American’s can.

A plaque joined the tree.

I am a Patriotic Tree, Proud to Stand until our troops come home. *In memory of those who gave their lives for our freedoms, in gratitude to those who serve, and to their families*

THE FATHER-IN-LAW I NEVER MET

While pictures of this type are more traditionally published on Memorial Day, it joins The Patriotic Tree as a stark reminder of other homes, where similar pictures, carefully preserved flags, and reminders of loved ones who will never come home.

JOHN HUTCHISON RICHARD
PVT. USMCR
KILLED IN ACTION
7 March 1945

Two shelves on one of my bookcases honor my husband’s father, a man he barely knew, and a man I never met. A brave man.

He was part of the first wave of brave Marines on Iwo Jima.

The bronze plaque reads:

.

.

The World War II books need no explanation, nor does my husband’s fascination with that war. The picture is a professional photo my MIL insisted they take before he deployed. The angel? It’s only fitting, as is the unintentional flash between the angel and that picture.

A SHOUT OUT FOR FLAGS

We have not fought these many wars alone. Ours is not the only country who fought to make and keep us free. Opposing sides in one conflict united to fight in another.

I would love to honor the sacrifices of our friends, other nations, whose young and brave fought beside ours.

I would love to add flags to the patriotic tree to recognize and honor those countries. So, if you have a small flag to add to The Patriotic Tree, please email me directly at gloria(at)gloriarichardwrites(dot)com. I’ll proudly display your country’s flag with ours.

BE SAFE and enjoy your 4th of July with family and friends. If fireworks add to your patriotic glee, for the sake of all that is beautiful — from sea to shining sea — please attend a professional and well-monitored fireworks display. We’ve lost too many trees, grasslands, and homes to wildfires this year.

PINGBACK LOVE

When I wrote the comments referencing family sacrifice, I thought of a blog by our own myWANA founder, WANA International co-founder, and blog guru, Kristen Lamb. In her Memorial Day post, she gave me an inside look at the pain faced by the spouse of a brave man about to deploy. In her own words: “I love my country, and my family has been in the military for countless generations. Yes, we were the rowdy clan that got booted out of Scotland because we didn’t play well with the English. The military was in my blood and so was the life that went with it…and yet here I was still utterly unprepared.

Please don’t stop with that one taste. Click on the link and read her emotive post, sprinkled with her signature humor hits.

Today’s Life List Club post by Lara Schiffbauer in her Four Reasons I’m proud to be an American hits the patriotic heart.

History Fiction author, K.B. Owen, gives us a sample of what celebrations were like 100 years ago by combing through New York Times Articles. I <strong>love</strong> the historical twist she put on this day in her post titled Happy Fourth, 100 years ago.

The blog-o-sphere overflowed with patriotic posts today–too many for me to mention here. If you have one, please put it in comments and I’ll feature the link.

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