Sweet Land of Liberty

By Teresa Bateman

Listen -
Can you hear it?
That soft whisper in the trees?
The sound of honest cotton
Reaching out to catch the breeze?
Unfurling in the gentle winds
Red, White, and Blue it flies -
The flag of our great nation
Standing crisp in freedom's skies.
Listen -
Can't you hear it?
That soft flutter in the wind?
A touch of martial music,
A soft-sung, distant hymn?
The weeping of a war bride,
a wounded soldier's moan,
The sound of distant cannon,
A bugle's lonely tone.
Listen -
Can't you hear them?
Those who struggled valiantly
Through years of war and hardship
that their children might be free?
The winds of change are blowing.
Can we stand before the test?
Have you noticed it's the strongest winds
that make the flag show best?
Listen -
Can't you hear it?
That soft whisper in the trees?
The sound of honest cotton
reaching out to catch the breeze.
Unfurling in the gentle wind,
Red, White, and Blue it flies -
The flag of our great nation
Standing crisp in freedom's skies.
Remember what it represents -
The cost behind the vision.
Look up -
Can't you see the way it beckons to you?

Can you tell what this picture is? Yes, it is an army tank. And on it is written the title of liberty. This picture is on the back cover of a book called "Faith in the Service" by Chad Hawkins. It is filled with short, inspirational stories about those serving in Afghanistan, and even some in Iraq. Brad and I have both really enjoyed reading it - and most of the stories give you chills and even bring tears to your eyes. It has really made the war more personal to me, by being able to read such personal stories. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone! (If you're local, I will totally let you borrow it!)

Last week during our combined Priesthood/Relief Society meeting, a brother in our ward was talking about what he thought patriotism was. He pretty much defined it by the Title of Liberty. I really liked that thought, and it has stuck with me all week. It inspired and buoyed up Captain Moroni's army, and it can do the same now - whether we are actually serving in the military or not. We should live our lives that way. With honor and dignity. We shouldn't be afraid to stand up for what we know is right - especially as parents. We do our children a disservice when we are lazy, irresponsible and cowardly. For the next generation, we must fight for what we believe in, or what those before us fought so hard for, will have been in vain.

I'm not going to get all political on here...but I will say that I believe it is important for us all to become educated in what is happening in this country, so that we can vote accordingly. The power of democracy comes from the people, and if you aren't aware of what is going on, how can you vote? And if you don't vote, you're basically forfeiting your power! So, I for one am going to learn as much as I can so I can prepare for the upcoming election. I hope you'll do the same.

On a lighter note (sorry I got all serious for a moment...) I was reminiscing about my favorite 4 of July memories...

In Colorado, our ward would do a pancake breakfast...and I know I looked forward to that every year! Then our neighbors would all get together to do fireworks...it was always chaotic but so much fun! I remember once being chased (or so I thought) by one of those crazy Flowers - you know, the ones that buzz and kind of jump all over the ground? Yeah, it was quite frightening!

In Texas, we decorated our bikes and did a little parade in the church parking lot...kind of cheesy, but actually really fun!

A lot of my summers were spent with my grandparents in San Clemente, and I always loved watching the fireworks from their balcony...

Most of all, I think the thing I remember the most, is just spending time together as a family. So, I'm looking forward to having Brad home from work, and doing some fun stuff together.

Tonight when I was tucking the boys in, we sang some patriotic songs (which Jakob learned at school), and it's pretty hilarious hearing Joshy sing along to "You're A Grand Old Flag" -- maybe tomorrow I can catch it on video. I know they have no idea how blessed they are to live here, but I hope to be able to teach them to always be grateful and not to take it for granted.

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th -- be safe and have fun!