I can’t concentrate on my homework at all, so in an effort to get my mind straight I am just going to write a little bit.

For those of you that don’t know…

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4th, 1776.

If you want to read it in its entirety you can, here is a website that has the full transcription of the Declaration of Independence (as well as other historical documents if you happen to not know what the Constitution or the Bill of Rights are): http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

The part that I want to highlight is this…

“…and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” ~excerpt from the Declaration of Independence

Michael loved the Fourth of July, not because of the fireworks, but because to him it signaled a lot of what he became a Marine for.  He wasn’t just a Marine because he got to shoot a big gun and go to really cool schools…he became a Marine because he believed in this country and everything that it has stood for since its beginning.  I think that a part of him would have loved to be one of those 56 signatures on the bottom of this historical document.  He was incredibly patriotic and he loved to read about the history of America.  I had started buying him books about different things in history.  The last one I gave him, during the Christmas before he died was about the history of war in America. Don’t get me wrong, Mike was a pyro…so he always went big with fireworks…but there was meaning behind the day for him also.  He was passionate about the Fourth of July & Veteran’s Day in particular.  He loved to spend time with older Marines and talk to them about their experiences.  He rarely interjected his own, which I thought was pretty telling about his character.  He was a learner.

Frank tried to call tonight, but for whatever reason he could not get through.  We got on chat for about 15 minutes.  This is part of our conversation (I normally would not share…but it touched my heart in a way that I cannot explain):

F: How are you doing with the 8th coming up?

Me: Not good. But I really am trying. The 4th is Mike’s favorite holiday, it is the reason he is a Marine. Makes for a tough week.

Me: Was.

F: “Is” is still accurate.  Mike will never cease to be one of us simply because he is no longer alive.

Me: Thank you.

F: Well, it is the truth.  I know I am hard to deal with, but that doesn’t mean I have ever ceased to think of Mike as a Marine brother and hero who I still miss and mourn.  It is not comparable to your loss, but it is the truth. (When Frank says he is hard to deal with he means that he is not one to share his feelings about things).

Me: I know.  I know it hurts other people too, but I cannot relate.

F: And you do not have to.  You have more than enough to deal with on your own.  I just wish I could be there for you.

I would like to say that I feel lucky to have a man in my life again who cares deeply about his country and who takes pride in it.  There is a lot of stuff that Frank feels could be different, he doesn’t agree with everyone and everything, but he does believe in what our country stands for.  It is difficult going through this week without both of them…

I just think it is a beautiful thing that there are so many individuals in this country, young and old, that have hearts like Michael and Frank’s…I don’t really know how to celebrate in their absence, but I will do something because it is important to them…and because I will never forget all that has been done since the beginning of our INDEPENDENCE to maintain it.  I feel a little bit like a flag thumper these days…but it is kind of hard not to be considering I am so close to the military and I have experienced what I have.  I have to be proud of Michael and Frank…because it helps it all make sense.

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