By Ralphine Major

It was a simple gesture.  As the words of “America the Beautiful” rang throughout the church, a lady in the balcony started waving her flag.  Then another waved—and another.  I watched as everyone in the church began waving their flags.  It was a moving and humbling sight as hundreds of American flags waved to the beautiful music for the Memorial Day Service.

This year marks America’s 240th birthday, the day the United States declared her independence from Great Britain.  So much has changed since then—so much has not.  July 4, 2016, will bring many celebrations of patriotic programs; festive parades filled with red, white, and blue; and family cookouts and neighborhood picnics.  This is also a year marking a presidential election so vital to our nation’s future.

However you celebrate our country’s independence and show your patriotism, may we all remember the sacrifices and service of our nation’s veterans, of those who have given their life protecting and defending America, and of those serving in the military branches today ensuring that we may continue to enjoy the freedoms of these great United States of America.  Blessings for a safe and Happy 4th of July!