What is the meaning of the 4th of July?
On June 5, 2009, a young rancher named Neal Wanless claimed one of the biggest undivided jackpots in U.S. lottery history — $232 million. He bought the ticket in the small town Winner, SD, part of Todd County, which according to the Census Bureau, was the nation’s seventh-poorest county in 2007.
In this rural and impoverished area where cows outnumber the human population, people do whatever they can to help one another. They brand cattle, dig neighbors out after snow blizzards and free tractors from mud – all without expectation of repayment. Serving each other is part of the culture of their community. Nobody goes hungry in Winner.
In a few days, our country will be celebrating the 4th of July holiday and pay tribute to our forefathers who banded together against a common enemy and committed themselves to a cause so great that many gave up their lives for it. This cause was freedom.
Those who fought for freedom have a lot in common with the citizens of Winner. They were unified against a common enemy, fought for their survival, and served one another. In the face of incredible odds, they were wingmen to each other and to their country. They were warriors, and they battled together to overcome a common enemy that stifled their ability to live in peace.
If we look across the world today and witness the oppressive regimes where human rights violations are rampant, it’s almost unimaginable that only a few hundred years ago, our own country was struggling to create peace, freedom and independence for its citizens. We owe so much to those who planted the seeds of freedom so that we may enjoy its harvest. We cannot forget what they’ve done.
And we also cannot forget the citizens in our own backyards…in towns like Winner…who struggle amidst adversity to partake in the American dream and taste the fruits of freedom that our forefathers fought for.
Those of us who are “living the dream” in America, more often than not, fought for it. And we need to continue to fight for it and not take our freedoms for granted!
So – how can we show our appreciation for those who fought for and continue to fight for our freedom? How can we fight the good fight and be warriors for freedom?
We can do it in our own backyards and businesses.
Let’s not just “do more with less” in this tough economy. Like the impoverished citizens in Winner and the embattled soldiers who fought for our independence, we need to “give more with less.” Serve at a soup kitchen, be a mentor for a struggling employee at work, or help out a veteran who has broken wings.
As you watch the fireworks this weekend, let the glow and thunder in the sky stir your spirit a calling to become a warrior for peace and freedom. Then go out and take action. Reach your wings into the dungeon of someone’s life who may be struggling and lend them a wing of service. Be a warrior for peace and freedom in your community.
This is what America is all about.
It’s the best way we can honor our forefathers who fought for what we all have today.