In sixth grade we learned Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” in music class. Donning matching patriotic t-shirts, we performed a special concert full of America-themed songs for our friends and family. Last I checked, Smitty still had her t-shirt and could fit into it.

No, I’m not jealous. Hmm-mm. Not me.

Anyway, I remember during our rehearsals some of the boys could not resist literally standing up when we sang the line, “And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.”

Whenever I hear the song today, I sing along (hitting every word and note perfectly, of course. Some things just stick with you!) and always smile when we get to those words. Something about the swell of the music and the memory of my ornery classmates makes ME want to stand up, too.

But the truth is, I will probably never have to actually stand up next to anyone in defense of my country. In between BBQs and fireworks, family time and date night, I’m thankful beyond words (even the lovely words of Lee Greenwood) to the men and women who defend our country and our freedoms.

Thank you to the soldiers and the families they leave behind and every single one of you who has sacrificed for our country. Happy 4th of July. And God bless the USA.

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