Tuesday, July 2, 2013


 Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.
                                John 8:36 NIV  

      My eyes welled with tears and my heart swelled with pride as up and down the road—in every direction—red, white and blue waved in the morning breeze. The colors of the American flag dotted the landscape as silver-haired ladies hid from the sun beneath bright red umbrellas, children and adults sported red, white and blue t-shirts, and tough guys on Harleys proudly waved Old Glory.

     Senior citizens in golf carts decorated in red, white and blue and carrying German Shepherds with patriotic bandanas tied around their necks, delivered bottles of water to thirsty souls waiting for the parade to begin. John Phillip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever followed by Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture rang out from our son-in-laws truck. 

    Moments before the official start of the parade, a flyover of military planes thrilled my heart. Then, on cue, came the US Air Force Color Guard and a marching band from Lackland Air Force Base. Bystanders rose from their lawn chairs—saluting, cheering and clapping in honor of our military men and women.

     Floats from civic groups, businesses, churches and politicians rolled down the road between soldiers dressed in fatigues and carrying POW-MIA flags and riders on horseback dressed in their best boots and cowboy hats and carrying the Stars and Stripes. Police cars, a SWAT truck, and our local utility company vehicles preceded the finale—a big bright red spit-shined fire engine. As the driver waved, the children jumped for joy— squealing and swaying their miniature American flags.  

     The index finger on my right hand ached from snapping photos. I, like many other moms, dads and grandparents dared not miss the children as they looked for us from their respective floats. To the unobserving the photos look the same year after year. But, upon closer examination, discerning eyes notice toddlers grown into adolescents and adolescents into teenagers. Too soon, they will be grown and facing life’s challenges as adults.

     As we began to gather our chairs, coolers and flags, I turned back for a final glance—the floats, flags and flying colors now gone and the asphalt already filled with cars and trucks trying to beat the rush of traffic. Soon all the frills of the parade, held to celebrate the birth of our nation and our freedom, would be tucked away until next July 4th. Although the parades end, our freedom continues to march forward.

     So I sit here writing and thinking about this year’s parade, now only two days away. As a Christian I feel doubly blessed to know that men and women with a thirst for liberty were willing to risk everything in order to be free, and I am the beneficiary of that risk. I am grateful! I am also blessed to know the God of our Forefathers, through His Son Jesus Christ, who willingly gave all in order that I could be set free from the bondage of sin. I am grateful!

      I pray that I never forget the cost of my liberty and my salvation. Battlefields of blood purchased my liberty—body and soul. “Whom the Son set free is free indeed!” May God continue to bless America.

 ©JP 2013     


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