July 4th is definitely a day of celebration for all Americans. One particular experience I had has stood out among all 4ths was this one: July 4, 1976--the Bicentennial of the United States of America. I remember it well. I was serving a mission for my church--The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--in the Chile Concepcion Mission, and my companion and I had just finished a financial audit in Linares, Chile, a train ride away from our home base in Concepcion, Chile. We had spent a very cold night at one of the pensions of the missionaries. We rose early so we could be back in Concepcion.
We were waiting for the train in a very lonely train station early on a chilly Sunday morning many miles from home. We had been discussing some things about home and what might be happening back in the U.S. when all of a sudden the National Anthem blared through the old speakers in the train station. These glorious words overcame us:
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
While the Star-Spangled Banner played, we stood attention, hand over heart, our eyes filled with tears. While we were over 7,000 miles from home, we felt a part of the Bicentennial. At that moment, I had never felt so much love for my country. It was a wonderful feeling.
Thank you to those who have made our country safe throughout the years. I love America.