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Open Letter to the Veteran on Independence Day

As I See It

July 3, 2013
By John Sheda ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

As I sit here typing, I think of the great fun we'll all have on the 4th. My second daughter was born this day at 9:30 in the evening. The doctor told us we have our very own fireworks! We've always enjoyed the festivities on Independence Day. For about the first seven years of her life, our daughter, Annie, thought it was all for her and her birthday. She cried one year because all the people who attended the parade wasn't coming over to our house for our family picnic. That would have been a lot of burgers!! The family and many friends come over and the day finally culminates with some spectacular and beautiful fireworks.

But every once in a while during the day, I think about YOU. I think about what this day really means. Having my family grow up in a country like the United States, knowing that YOU helped secure the freedoms that we all know today is something I'm grateful for. I know none of us says "Thank-you" enough, but this letter is for YOU.

You see, it's because of YOU and men and women YOU served with that we are safe. It's because of men and women just like YOU that we have the freedom to light some sparklers, enjoy the parades, eat a few burgers in the back yard and "ooh & aah" over the fireworks at night. Thank you for giving us the greatest country in the world, the U.S.A. Where else would I be given the opportunity to prove I can do something others might not even think possible. Where else do I have the protection of our Constitution that I am always an innocent man until proven guilty, and not guilty just because I might be accused of something.

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Where else but America would someone likely stand up for someone else who needs a little help? Someone stood up for me once and I try to repay that effort when I can. That's because of YOU! It's because of you that my children and grandchildren have dreams and hopes and that they can actually see them become realities if they try hard enough. How many places around the world have YOU been that the children there have no dreams or hopes, except perhaps to find food and shelter and live another day?

Yes, I will once again take my family to the parades, and yes, I will stand as the Veterans walk by holding the American Flag. I will put my hand over my heart and I will sing The Star-Spangled Banner. I will do so because of men and women like YOU who took a few years or even more, to ensure my freedom and my safety. I will do my best to honor YOU and stand up for YOU because YOU honored me and stood up for me, by becoming a member of the military and today YOU are a Veteran. I will always remember YOU; I will always respect YOU and please know that YOUR sacrifices will never be for nothing.

This Independence Day and every other one, I will always be grateful for YOU. Happy 4th of July. Thank you. or reach me by phone at 319-327-4640.

May God Bless all the Veterans and may God Bless America.



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