I've always been a big fan of words. Since my early days I have known that words wield tremendous power, the power to hurt, the power to heal, the power to bring a smile and the power to bring a tear. A nations leader can use words to lie, like Bill Clinton's denial of his affair with Monica Lewinski, he can also use words to begin to heal the heart of a nation, like George Bush's inspirational speech at Ground Zero.
Saying the word "War" is innocuous - but put it together in a sentence and it is
A call to action. "We must go to WAR"
A protest "This WAR is wrong"
An expression of mourning. "He gave his life for this WAR"
And they, so many brave men and women, gave their lives so we could write the word WAR in any sentence, any form, in any way we choose. There are many countries where the things you write can get you killed and you can be imprisoned for the things you read. I wonder how many people know this, truly grasp the fact that right now there are people imprisoned for being caught with Bibles, and people in other countries dying for having written the wrong thing. So often in this country freedom of speech is a right that is horrifically abused. Flags are burned, funerals are picketed, and people use words to hurt others over the internet - these freedoms are protected. And yet- despite how much we despise seeing the right abused, we need to be thankful.
This is a freedom we should not - MUST not take for granted.
So this day I make a vow. With every word I write, every sentence, every page - I will remember those who died to give me the freedom to write what I choose. Then, when the time comes to update my word count tonight, I will pray for the men and women overseas who still fight for my freedom. Not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but on every military installation representing every allied country in the world.
I invite you to join with me.
"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." -Cyntha Ozick