Another Soldier Died Today

by Micki Cottle

A light mist whispers gently over the trees this Southern morning, but soon the golden fingers of sunrise will separate each corner of darkness; and we say softly to ourselves, here comes the beginning, another day is born, another glorious, throat scorching day of living in the Carolinas.

Paced by our schedules, few of us make time to admire the colors of these richly painted days. Maybe we no longer hanker to stretch out, as we once did on the green grasses of other Julys; and simply let out minds drift, with the ever-changing kaleidoscopes of summer.

The frogs are screeching somewhere in their tropical hideaways. Such a noisy chorus! They sound a little like the “good old boys” back in the days when they were blessed with fire in their souls.

Back in those days, thunderous voices would ring out over the House and Senate Chambers. Their voices would make you sit up and take notice. Voices that wove out strengths, shouted our freedoms; voices that actually spoke the truth; well; now and then.

Truth be, most of these troubadours in politics were downright snappy actors, known to wipe a tear or two every now and then. Sadly, there aren’t a handful of the real “good-old-boys” left. Time has winked pretty hard at these warriors and I doubt we’ll ever hear the melodious likes of them again.

These fruitful months of July are packed full of the razzle-dazzle sounds of rich summer spectacles. Days follow silky days into the warm darkness of evening. We breathe the richness of these timeless moments realizing life is so precious; we trace each footprint, savor the gentleness of every hour. Time will never taste sweeter.

July ushers in that firecracker day of celebration, Independence Day. What an expensive word this one! Painted with the blood of history, engraved by those who dared (dare) to “stand up and be counted.” Ordinary men with extraordinary visions of the future who struggled, against all odds to give the meaning to this cry for “Independence.”So, I admit, I enjoy these noisy-sentimental-pleasures of the Fourth of July. And like most of you I have a lump in my throat when I see that blest flag, hear the Anthem; marvel at the fireworks; feel the sense of comradeship. Lord, may we never cease to appreciate this precious gift of living in a country where Americans still seem proud to fly their flags and sing their patriotic songs.

Occasionally, though, we independent Americans need to pause and remember who we are, where we came from. We need to look upward at the streaks of man-made magic that embrace our sense of wonder, bringing ahhhhs, from tired parents and squeals of excitement from bright-eyed youngsters. We need to really acknowledge we’ve got something here.

Finally sleepy, and a little lighter of heart some of us will wander home to darkened houses; pausing briefly to remember, that indeed we are part of a very large family in this USA, this place we call home. And despite our differences, we are all tied securely at the hip with this belt of freedom.

Of all the holidays we celebrate, the “4th of July” has the power to shake us and remind us of the unique privilege of just being an “American.” And if we aren’t, (as the old orators might have said) we don’t need to live here anymore.

When all is said and done, most of us can expect to enjoy summer’s passing parade without the threat of dodging bullets, and the constant fight for daily survival. If our politicians irritate us too much, we have the privilege of voicing our opinions. We are no longer persecuted for our religious beliefs. We had forefathers with a lot of insight, who spent a mighty long time ironing out these problems as best they could.

As we turn our thoughts to years past, to other times and places, remembering other Fourths that we celebrated elsewhere with other faces and tiny hands holding outs’ we know how quickly these fleeting pleasures of today will become another page in our memory books. And the spirit of these dusky, summer evenings that lighten our world in this time, this moment; will never come again.

And lest we forget “Our country is in mourning; another soldier died today.”