As we ready ourselves for another celebration of the birthday of our country, it marks yet another day to ponder all the freedoms that this great land has given us. The Fourth of July celebration causes us to thank our forefathers and our ancestors for everything they did to give us every opportunity to be successful, to raise a family, to have job opportunities if we work for them. Also, to choose what we want to do, and have and truly live up to the guarantees of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, if done within the limits of the law.
As I look back on my life, I've been blessed with so many of those opportunities, and have had so many wonderful members of my family, and many wonderful friends, who've helped me along the way to raise that family, to have those choices to do and have, what I've been able to do and have, and to enjoy the fulfillment of those guarantees of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Does that mean it's been a smooth, paved road that I've traveled? I'd be way too naive to answer that with a, "yes." No, everything worthwhile has to come with hard work, trials, tribulations and frustrations, but that's what makes it that much more rewarding when looking back. Though I appreciate everything I have, and every opportunity I've been given, and I know I have said, "Thank You," and "I Love You" to the many who have had a hand in making this American Dream come true, I don't think I've ever said it enough times, and I think I speak for many in this regard. So, as we celebrate this Fourth of July, celebrate our Freedom, and our lives, please bear with me as I say some things to those who've allowed me to have this great life, liberty and so much happiness. I hope you'll do the same to those in your life.
To the Good Lord above, thank you for making all things happen.
To those who argued for all the freedoms given to us in 1776, thank you for your foresight, your perseverance and your courage in creating this United States of America.
For those who fought to keep those freedoms, and to those who serve to protect us against those who want to take those freedoms away, or who seek to harm us in our everyday lives, thank you for upholding the ideals of our forefathers.
To the schools that educated me, my wife, my children and my grandchildren, thank you for going beyond Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic, and teaching us those things which have properly prepared us for this life we live.
To the communities where we've lived, me in Jamestown, Sally in Sherman and Jamestown, Chasy in Sherman, Jamestown, Buffalo and Bethpage, Tennessee, Chrissy in Sherman, Jamestown, Vista, Calif., Fredricksburg, Va. and Hookstown, Pa., and Jon in Jamestown and Buffalo, thank you for your commitment to our living as safely as we could, and for the opportunities you've given us to do and have as much as we could in this life.
To my parents, I know I never gave you enough credit for all you did for all of us, but I loved (and still do) you for all you did, and I was and am proud to be your son. To my sisters, brothers, sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, grandsons, nieces and nephews, you'll never know how much you've meant to all of our lives. Thank you for your loyalty, support, and love.
To Chasy, you once told me that your present job was "punishment" for not going to college. If building your own successful business, which has grown to where a national company wanted to buy you out, is punishment, then I'm happy you had to be "punished." You've never been afraid to work, and I'm so proud of you. You have a wonderful husband and two great sons, one of whom is leaving for the U.S. Navy very soon. I know I've said this, but not often enough, I'm proud of you and I love you.
To Chris, you've made homes in so many places as a Marine wife, finally settling in one spot, and having to survive the loss of your home to fire, then rebuilt, but never lost sight of who is important to you. You have a great husband, two terrific sons and have provided them with a loving home and much love. I'm just as proud of you as I am your sister and brother, and I love you very much too.
Jon, you're leaving for Virginia this very weekend to start your training in your career as a police officer. You set your goal in sixth grade and have never wavered the course. You worked hard in every job you've had and have always given a hard day's work for an honest day's pay. You've balanced your activities being able to work, study, play ball and have been responsible, reliable, and dependable. I'm so proud of you too and love you very much.
Sally, I started this ride with you thirty-two plus years ago and I have NO regrets at all. I'm very proud of you as a person, a wife and my best friend. It's just you and me now honey, so it's time we bought those mopeds, the leather clothes, helmets, got those tattoos, and headed for Seniors Moped Week in Daytona Beach. I love you very much.
I know I've said it before, but never as nearly enough, thank you to everyone in my life! I am truly enjoying Life, Liberty and Happiness! Happy 4th!