MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- Editor's note: Information in the following editorial was taken from Internet sources and the Marine Corps' wire service, MC News.
During the Fourth of July, most Americans had the day off work. People enjoyed each others' company while cooking on the grill, attending small town fairs, neighborhood activities and watching fireworks burst in the night sky. But the weekend was more than a time for cookouts; it was a time to celebrate the day the United States declared its independence - July 4, 1776.
Although this country gained its independence more than 226 years ago, many Americans have given their lives since then to keep this country free. Americans live in a country where they are free to express their feelings and opinions and to practice any religion of their choice.
People in some countries must live their lives in accordance with the whims of dictators or depending on the political group currently in power. Many people on this Earth would give anything to live in the United States, to be able to dream and live the way they see fit.
Every day others are born into the American culture. These "new" Americans, whether they are newborn babies or naturalized citizens, also have the right to free speech; the right to choose their methods of worship or not to worship at all; the right to an education in the nation's public schools; the right to pursue careers in any field of endeavor they desire; and the right to select those who govern over them.
But with the rights the founding fathers secured comes the responsibility of defending and protecting this nation. Therefore, "new" Americans have the opportunity to bear arms in defense of freedom.
Americans have fought in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm and in many other conflicts. When needed, the president has sent American troops to other countries to bring food, medical supplies and sometimes to re-establish a working government.
No matter the cause, whether it is to aid smaller countries or to stop a much larger force, many U.S. service members have died on foreign soil, so that others could be free.
Most of the bodies of the deceased have been shipped back home to their final resting place in American soil, but some are buried in foreign lands, such as Germany, France, Korea and Vietnam where they paid the ultimate price for freedom.
Currently, 60,000 U.S. troops are deployed overseas to fight the war against terrorism. Many families were missing loved ones during the Independence Day weekend -- loved ones who are in foreign lands defending freedom thousands of miles away from home.
Safe in their homes, churches, workplaces or somewhere else going about their daily routines, many Americans are not thinking of the young men and women in the U.S. armed forces currently defending everything they know and love about this country. Approximately 26 Americans have already died trying to avenge the death of innocent Americans killed Sept. 11.
With the day to remember this country's birth gone, people don't have to stop celebrating their freedom or love for their country. On a daily basis Americans should take a moment to thank the men and women who died to secure their freedoms.
Americans must not forget the great history of this country nor the ones who made this country free.
But most of all, as Americans enjoy the comforts of home, they need to remember the service members currently overseas, keeping America safe and preserving the American way of life.