Let Freedom Ring

(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton/Released)

(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton/Released)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Today, on our nation's 238th birthday, we need to stand taller than ever and be proud of our nation as a symbol of freedom; even as we see threats to freedom globally mount daily. "Let Freedom Ring" needs to echo across the globe as a calling for those who believe that our best days are ahead of us. We are a bold nation who put a man on the moon and harnessed both electricity and the atom. But, the boldest and loudest action of America occurred in 1775 when at Concord and Lexington, our Minutemen, our original National Guard, stood up to Red Coats and a shot was heard around the world. We as a fledgling American people stood up and said no more. Our founding fathers pulled together and simply said, "Let Freedom Ring!"

Less than a 100 years later, a new generation of American patriots, men like Abraham Lincoln, banded together against a crucible of a tragic civil war and preserved the beacon of freedom first lit in 1776. He reminded a war-torn nation that "four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." A nation came together again and said, "Let Freedom Ring!"

In World War I, our dough boys left the shores to make the world safe for democracy. The greatest generation left our shores again in World War II, and their sole purpose was to beat back tyranny and give freedom to an entire globe. Democracy and liberty flourished in all four corners of the globe, even as the eve of the Cold War sought to extinguish freedom's beacon. Undaunted, America became an economic giant in the 1950s and used economic strength to extend liberty, and also went forth again to hills of the Korean peninsula and the jungles of Vietnam to give others a chance, a chance for self-determination. From the bells of Independence Hall to the ringing of the Liberty Bell during the Civil War to the chimes on US warships sailing the seven seas, Freedom's ringing has only grown louder over the ages.

On 9/11, freedom and liberty were brutally attacked yet again as enemies of America sought to hobble our economic engine and threaten America's promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was another shot heard around the world, but this time America shot back, and for the last decade, we have carried forth our banner of freedom yet again to preserve our own spark. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell remarked, "We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we've done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in." Certainly, while the future for Afghanistan remains incredibly murky, the portrait of two Afghan elections this year, relatively free of violence, with Afghanis determining their future was heartening. Let freedom ring, let freedom ring indeed.

Today, on our 238th birthday on a new birth of freedom, within the shadows of violence and war in Iraq, we as Americans must stand tall and be very proud of letting freedom ring for over two centuries. We at Fairchild remain a vital part of that effort providing Global Reach for America, Fueling Freedom in all parts of the globe. Our commander, Gen. Darren McDew, implores us to be bold in all our actions. Our Founding Fathers were bold, as were those around them like Paul Revere, who sounded the call on his midnight ride.

So this July Fourth, let us recommit to be very bold, to see America for the many more sunrises to come, and to stand tall, loudly proclaiming, "Let Freedom Ring!" The world is listening...