"4th of July", American History, History, Holidays, Hot Air Balloons, National Guard, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day

40 Percent of the Boots on the Ground, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Our National Guard, as I think everyone knows, has provided about 40 percent of the boots on the ground…” ~ Kit Bond ~

National Guard

Since today is the 237th birthday of the USA, I couldn’t think of any more fitting picture for today than the picture above.

I happened to shoot this picture over Memorial Day weekend (another very fitting occasion). But, when I was going through my images, this one grabbed my attention as appropriate for today.

It’s obvious the balloon in the back is a National Guard balloon and that there is an American flag on the balloon. Again, very fitting…

But, what I find very symbolic in a subtle way is where the image of the National Guard balloon is…in the background…

When we think of the protection and security of our country we do tend to think of our standing military. Regardless of the branch, the men and women are there to protect us. But, where we are amiss is to leave out and ignore the service men and women in the National Guard and Reserves. These people play a critical and important part in the security of our country.

They are more than “weekend warriors”…

As the quote today indicates, in recent years, especially since September 11, 2001 the National Guard has contributed at least 40% of the “boots on the ground” in the war on terror. I would know this personally because my son was an Air National Guardsman who was activated on 9/11 and spent many years in the “sandbox” of the Middle East.

It was a frightening time for a mother who had just gone through a personal trauma of her own. I was terrified, yet proud of my only child.

The history of the National Guard actually predates the standing US military. The Guard is the direct descendant of the militias of the original 13 colonies, the oldest unit being formed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636. The early colonists knew they had to depend on themselves for their defense. There would be no British military rushing to their defense against the wilds of the New World.

Years later, it was those militias…those Minute Men, who made a decided difference during the American War for Independence. Today you can find statues dedicated to those hardy patriots in New England.

So, on this 4th of July as you celebrate don’t forget the men and women who have paid a price to keep this country free, and, today, especially remember those “40% of the boots on the ground”…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch Al Rights Reserved.



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