July 4th is a time in our country when we all seem to put aside our political affiliations, our religious differences or sports team loyalties, and all the other things that seem to divide this nation at times, and we pause. We pause together and watch glorious displays of fire and light, a symphony of color dances across the sky and adults and children alike all sit or stand in awe. It’s a time when we all take pride in this still great nation, in what we stood for and what we still stand for. Across this great nation on riverfronts, in giant baseball stadiums, in backyards and driveways we celebrate, we eat, we enjoy the community of one another, and we say thank you for those who afforded us and our children this freedom.
I love the 4th of July, but this year it takes on a different meaning for me. On Dec 27th of last year one of my closest friends deployed to Afghanistan. It’s a strange, but good feeling having some so close to you in the military. There is a mix of fear and unbridled pride that churn inside you – words really can’t explain it.
Starting in January of this year our office decided to ‘adopt’ 1LT David Christopher Scott as our own. We have been sending him various care packages ever since. Magazines, books, candy, fruit leathers, MiO water drops, and whatever else will help ease his time away and remind him that people back home really do care. It’s been a great experience that the entire office has gotten behind…and that’s why this 4th of July is different.
The 4th isn’t generally known as an American holiday where we give and receive gifts. This year we here at Inward received a gift and from an unexpected source. A tattered USPS boxed arrived a few days back from our solider. What was it? What could possible be inside? We opened the box. Inside was a perfectly folded, and very large, American flag. The flag has some wear-and-tear, you can tell by its rough texture and smell of earth. Next to the flag inside the box was a certificate. This was no ordinary flag. This flag was flown over “our soldier’s” base, Shindand Airbase during Operation Enduring Freedom XIII from June 1 – June 13. And the certificate gave recognition and thanks to Inward Strategic Consulting for supporting the troops of the 704th infantry. This was the actual flag the 704th looked at on a daily basis, the same flag pilots and convoys saw as they came through the mountain passes, and the same flag that stood tall regardless of how that day had gone.
I’ve received all kinds of gifts in my short 33 year life, but never anything of which I’m still just standing in awe. This folded piece of canvas with its Stars, Stripes and Afghanistan dirt represents everything that the 4th of July is about.
This 4th of July is different…and that’s a good thing.