†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† THE SOUNDS OF FREEDOM

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† By Duane Preimsberger

As we look forward to July 4th, a time to celebrate our Independence Day, itís also a time to say thank you to those dedicated and committed members of our Armed Forces who sometimes give their all to assure that we can enjoy the blessings that go with celebrating this very remarkable and wonderful Holiday.

Those of us who live in the Temecula Valley have an opportunity to hear some unusual sounds. The first time I really paid attention to them was right after we moved here and my wife Judy and I had invited another couple over for dinner. We were sitting on the patio sipping some good Temecula wine when we heard muffled thunder and felt the ground shake slightly. The sky above us was clear as the last vestiges of a flaming scarlet and red setting sun dropped below the western horizon on the Santa Rosa Plateau.


ďWhat was that, there arenít any thunder clouds around, is it an earthquake?Ē asked our guests. Seconds later, several low flying helicopters, in formation, flew overhead drowning out all conversation and quickly disappeared off into the distance.


I thought for a moment and replied: ďThose helicopters are the Sounds of Freedom.Ē I said; informing our visitors that we lived within a few miles of Camp Pendleton, a major Marine Corp facility and one of several military sites close by. ďIt isnít unusual to hear artillery fire, or to see military helicopters overhead in this area on a fairly frequent basis. The Marines conduct a lot of training either at Pendleton or at facilities nearby. We often see military convoys on our freeways with ten or twenty vehicles loaded with troops travelling to and from those sites.Ē


Since that day Iíve become much more aware of those sounds and the people who cause them. In the last few years there have been many more over flights, convoys and artillery fire. Much of it, Iím sure, has been driven by our Nations actions to free the Iraqi people from the stranglehold of a ruthless despot and his assassins and to bring them democracy. Along with the awareness of the noise came a realization that the young faces I see in the troop carrying vehicles that travel our freeways are willing to go into harms way and to put their lives on the line for me and for all Americans as they serve in our Nations Military Forces.


Perhaps my heightened awareness is just an old mans pride in the United States of America and the Freedoms that this great Nation allows us. Or maybe itís the fear that one or more of those fresh young faces that smile at me from the rear of a transport vehicle may one day make the ultimate sacrifice. What ever it is, itís causing me to mouth the words, ďThank you, God Bless AmericaĒ and to render a hand salute to those young Marines as they travel our freeways. I get some surprised looks from them, but I often get a snappy salute in return.


Those young men and women fill me with pride and make me appreciate even more the gift that has been given to us, the ability to listen and appreciate on an almost daily those Sounds of Freedom that we hear as our troops go about their business. The Sounds have become patriotic music to my ears. Each year as we enjoy another birthday for our Great Nation I am swept up in a wave of patriotism as I watch those young Marine faces and give thanks for living in a Country that is truly free. Semper Fi, Marines, and a salute as well to the men and women who with dedication and courage serve our Nation in our Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.


To all of you who serve now and in the past, thank you for allowing us to enjoy the Freedoms and Independence that we often take for granted. It is your service and your sacrifice that has allowed this Nation to survive. As we enjoy this Holiday may we stop for a moment to appreciate what you have done. Your battles for our Nation allow us on this Fourth of July to celebrate, together as Americans, the essence of our Liberties. May God bless each of you and may God continue to bless America, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.