NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

July 4, 2013

Still the land of the free and brave?

(Continued)

In 2013, is this still the land of the free? Yes. Americans have shown they still have the conviction and the will to stand up to those who would take away or restrict our liberty.

Is it still the home of the brave?

Without doubt.

Around the world, servicemen and women daily defend our liberty and are willing to sacrifice their own lives to protect it.

Again, here at home, just this week, 19 brave members of an elite firefighting crew, the Granite Mountain Hotshots, were killed by a wildfire in Arizona that still burns.

They were there in hopes of stopping the fire and protecting their neighbors’ homes by clearing brush and cutting down trees that might feed the lightning-sparked blaze.

Most of the 19 men were only in their 20s — the job is so physically demanding, they almost had to be. Many left behind wives and young children.

They knew the risks they ran. More than 200 firefighters have been killed in wildfires since the “Big Burn” inferno of 1910 killed 78 in Idaho and Montana, according to a list compiled by the Wall Street Journal.

The Hotshots trained intensely to deal with those risks, even carrying heat-resistant personal shelters in the 50 pounds of gear on their backs.

In the end, the fire turned on them and they were swiftly overwhelmed as they desperately deployed those shelters.

Today, flags fly at half staff in their honor.

But as the concluding question of the anthem suggests, there is no guantee that the flag will always fly over the kind of nation bequeathed to us by the founders unless we are willing to stand up for the cause of freedom.

If we do, the question will still be there to challenge our children and grandchildren. Will they be able to say the flag still waves over the land of the free and brave?

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans