These steps led to the room in which my son was housed during basic training for the National Guard. They were to be a daily reminder of the standards that would qualify these young men and women for service. To me, it was a reminder of the many people who have selflessly displayed these qualities so that I and others could enjoy the abundant freedoms that we possess in this country. Freedoms and privileges that I far too often take for granted. Privileges that I perhaps have come to value above the qualities on these steps. Eisenhower said,
“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”
Today seems like an apt time to reflect on what that freedom we have gained is really about. What do I do with my freedom? Is it freedom to pursue my own self indulgent way of life, or freedom to follow a God that calls me to be better than I am? To love better and to have more courage and integrity. To be selfless and loyal and honorable. What would our nation be like if we all practiced a reliance on the God who is the Author of every good quality? Even more sobering, what will it be like if we do not?
Today we celebrate our independence as a nation. Good. But free for what? Free to do what? Free to be what? I don’t want to waste the freedom that I have been granted at great sacrifice on what is trivial and unworthy.