Freedom Isn’t Free

July 4th 2013. It won’t be just another day . . . it never is . . . at the beach. Seaside starts to come alive with people around Memorial Day, but Independence Day is the official kickoff for summer. Families, food and fun—but best of all, memories.
It started for Karen and me in the summer of 1999. The kids were grown; it was just the two of us. Karen’s birthday is on the 4th of July. Rumor had it that Seaside put on a pretty good fireworks show and besides it would be an excuse to come to the beach. So we did.
Wow! The bunkers dug deep on the beach, the smoke from fireworks mixed with the smell of burning camp fires, the sun setting over the ocean with thousands of people dotting the shore line; it was like a war zone. Our eyes burned and our ears rang with the non-stop explosions lighting up the summer sky. And that was just the pre-show. The official fireworks wouldn’t start for another hour and a half.
We settled into our beach chairs; the show began. Music played and the sky lit up as we watched a thirty minute display of smoke and lights that would make any American proud. When it was over the roar of the mighty Pacific filled the night air. What was not to like? We had found a new tradition. Over the next four years we would make our pilgrimage, with family, to Seaside, Oregon on the 4th of July.
Karen and I moved to Seaside in the summer of 2003. We now watch our favorite holiday celebration from the back porch of our house on the hill, with family and friends.
So as we make memories to last a lifetime, in a place that fills us with imagination and a dream fulfilled, we think of freedom that isn’t free. Let us—each one of us—never forget, lest we lose the gift, bought with the ultimate price of blood and sacrifice.
July 4 2006 172

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