I know I’m posting this late but it was late when we got home from watching fireworks. Again, there are people who will disagree with this but I feel strongly about it. Last night there were so many people watching fireworks, many sitting in lawn chairs and on blankets on the grass, especially where we were. There was, of course, music playing during the fireworks. But it started out with the Pledge of Allegiance and included the National Anthem and God Bless the USA (Lee Greenwood). Maybe it’s me, but as I looked around at all of these people, I expected people to stand. Not just out of respect and allegiance to our country, but out of respect to our troops. Past and present. All. Of. Them. And the families supporting them back home. I realize that many people still felt the emotion and appreciation, too. Maybe they just didn’t think about it. (But I’m a constant thinker and questioner so this is something I would think about). People, these brave men and women put their lives on the lines every single day. And it’s for us! To be able to watch fireworks, while the explosions and lights they probably see come from, not fireworks, but bombs, guns, IED’s, etc. Scary sights and sounds. Not beautiful red, white and blue fireworks that we are watching. Yes, I enjoy them, but I see them as a tribute and a “thank you” to these brave men and women. Imagine our country without them. Would we even have a July 4th to celebrate. I realize that there is a lot I don’t understand or know about the military life. But I do know this: these brave, strong men and women would DIE for us to protect our freedom, country and our rights. Whether or not you disagree with war, fighting, protecting our country, etc, the fact is that these troops and their families do because what they do is a choice for them. So out of respect to our country and our troops and their families, I feel standing up if you are able, removing hats, placing your hand over your heart: these are small things that might mean the world to a Soldier watching or their wife or their children who are missing them and worrying about them every minute. Not trying to start a debate. Just expressing my feelings and my gratitude. And a special thank you to my own family members who have served or are serving for us now: Charlie Mabe, Tom Doris Mabe Lathan, Lindsay Teal Knopp Larry A Smith, Jamey McNeill and Heather McNeill, Nick Cordier and Kate Cordier, Megan Prieto and Nick Prieto and my own sons, Chase Rudolph Rhinehardt and Dalton Rhinehardt who are Young Marines. Okay, I’m done now. God Bless You all!