Free
Off the Wall, June 29, 2017

We are really blessed in this county. I don’t think the average citizen ever recognizes what that four letter word means.

And its crazy you know. We have all this violence, racism and hatred actually flourishing in cities, some big and some small. There is so much people want and think they deserve because of this word, “freedom,” but don’t realize what a privilege it is to live in such a wonderful country that has so much to offer.

‘Free’ doesn’t necessarily mean one can always have something for nothing. That is a term we in our society think the word is all about. There are some who believe that America is all about free handouts, medical care or no rules to govern our conduct. That’s what the dreamers think.

Recently, I had the privilege to attend two Community Interfaith Prayer meetings free of charge. The first dealt with people both young and old alike who showed up to offer prayers to God on behalf of the opioids. The place was packed. There were more people than there were chairs. If I’m not mistaken, there were sixteen clergy from two religions represented. Chief of Police James Bumar organized the get-together.

Bumar, an officer of the law, realized that people misused their freedom, hurting themselves to the point of death. Law enforcement agencies across this fantastic country of ours have tried everything they could to curtail drug activity to no avail. He publicly stated, “ We have come here tonight to ask God to intervene. We have tried everything under our power and it hasn’t worked.”

The attendees joined forces in agreement when one minister stated, “We can make a difference.” All in attendance agreed that giving of their time freely to help the burdened and addicted through the means of which Bumar spoke, would be advantageous to the future of the afflicted.

The other meeting was an Interfaith Community Patriotic Service. It too was free and didn’t cost a single cent to enter through the doors. Its purpose was to honor the living and the dead who served our country to defend its freedoms to keep it the home of the brave and land of the free.

Flags were raised by many in attendance who silently indicated that they either knew of people who lost loved ones in various wars, or actually had loved ones who met their demise in certain conflicts.

They gave of their life so that our country, the place where you live, work and recreate still can be called a free country. Not all other countries throughout the world can say that they live freely, go about carrying on at various events, and even violate laws with the mindset of “This is my right!”
It was heartwarming to see residents both young and old, cub scouts led by their Cub Masters, holding flags representing our armed forces, not to mention listening to the large choir, members from area churches, sing patriotic songs perfectly in pitch reminding all that we should celebrate the fact that we all should be grateful to all who served, is serving and will do so in the years to come.

We who can’t serve because of bearing impediments or those who would liked to but weren’t chosen should step up to every soldier in uniform and at least say, “Thank You.” That’s the least one can do.

Our American flag stands for more than a colorful decoration of stars and stripes. Watching a veteran hoist it from a floor stand and carry it across the Latrobe Elementary School auditorium reminded us all that it’s not just a cloth with pretty colors and a unique design, but something far more important. It is our symbol of freedom. It didn’t come easy, yet we have soldiers overseas fighting for you and for me to maintain that very privilege.

When I walk down the street, I do so without fear that some government soldier is stalking me, watching every move I make, such as may be the case in other countries. I don’t have to worry about that which I write, in most cases. Other countries may not allow me to be so open about some of my psychological thoughts, conveying messages that I have, freedoms to write because I live in a country that promotes independence.

Soon we will be celebrating Independence Day more commonly referred to as July Fourth. Never forget that someone paid a price for your freedom. Treasure that fact.

Please light your entrances!


- Paul J. Volkmann
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