Carol Cummings, RN, BSN, Expert on Aging Well

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30 June 2016

Summertime is the blissful, fleeting time of year when everything is more abundant. Flowers, and swimming, and busy birds-vacations, and long days, and back yard barbeques-and all seems right with the world. For me there is an awareness that joy hangs in the balance and if I don’t keep my eyes open and my senses heightened I might miss it. And in the US our summer is always punctuated by Independence Day-the fourth of July!

This is the pinnacle-fireworks, parades, festivals, friends, families and parties-I love it all! But in the backdrop of the celebration, there is the weightiness of what this holiday really means-the reminder that it represents our most valuable asset as a nation-our freedom.

There can be a tendency to take it all for granted, to forget that what we value most is also the most costly thing. I think of the generation represented by our current residents. Most of them lived through World War II. That war, like none before it or since, was a unifier. Everyone played a role whether it was serving on the front lines, or behind the scenes, or using rationing stamps, or working the factories-we were all in it together.

I wonder how the men and women who have seen 70+ Independence Days come and go since that war think about this freedom, and what it cost. I recently met a man who is about 70 years old who told me through tears that his father died in WWII. They never met. He still lives out the price of that war. I wonder how the men and women who have served in wars since, who still bear the scars- or those who lost loved ones feel about this freedom on this day. They share a bond that most of us will never know.

As I often remind myself- and you- on these patriotic holidays; enjoy the parties and the parades, but don’t forget to contemplate in your heart the reason and the cost. Be reminded of the precious freedom we share in this great country. I implore all of us to live it out by using our voice, our right to free speech, our right to be involved in the political process, our right to worship as we desire, and our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Be tolerant of everyone else’s rights to these same things.

Wishing you all a wonderful, safe, happy, fulfilling Fourth of July!!!!

Be Well on Purpose.

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