Home Of The Brave

I’m sitting on my desk watching the fireworks (one of the advantages of living on the top floor of a multistory building). I can see across the town and the horizon is filled with the multicolored explosions of dozens of fireworks shows. Truly a breathtaking sight. Especially when enjoyed with a cold beer and a hot cigar.

But that’s not what today is about, although that’s certainly part of it. 228 years ago a group of people made one of the most audacious choices in history. They severed all ties with their former home and founded a new nation. It is sometimes forgotten that this choice wasn’t popular at all. At the time only one third of the colonists wanted independence. One third continued to swear fealty to King George. The other third were on the fence, the “sunshine patriots” of Thomas Paine.

Yet the Founding Father’s ambitious and daring action paid off in the end. 228 years later countless millions celebrate the actions that were taken in that sweaty Philadelphia hall in which a new nation was born. It took years of blood and toil to finally give that paper meaning. It took years more under the Articles of Confederation for this nation to become something more than a loose confederation of states with disparate interests. The Unites States of America was a dream that took years to become what it is. Yet this nation perservered in spite of all the hardships.

The reason why is clear – because of those who saw this nation as something worth fighting and dying for. Tonight I’d like to mention just one of them.

His name is “Lance Corporal Jeremy Bohlman.”:http://www.pigstye.net/iraq/article.php?story=20040610080715711 He was from my adopted hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We went to the same high school.

On June 6th, Lance Corporal Bohlman was killed in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq.

I never knew Jeremy Bohlman, but I wish I had. He was a model Marine, earning several commendations during his nearly four years of service to his country. He put aside everything to do his duty. He put himself in harm’s way more than once to safeguard the lives of not only his own countrymen, but the people of Iraq. He fought and died for a cause, a cause that puts his name on the list of honored American dead.

He gave his life in service of his country. That makes him a hero.

As long as there are men and women like Jeremy Bohlman in this country, it will remain the land of the free and the home of the brave.