A GI's 4th of July
By Cpl John M. Holman, U.S. Army, Gablingen, Germany
"The Letter Box"
Hampton Union, June 1952
16 June 1952
I have been thinking about the Fourth of July and perhaps you and your readers would be interested in an idea of how we in this part of the world are thinking.
The thing we're celebrating on the 4th of July is the Declaration of Independence, which was signed a long time ago, and a long, long way from here in Gablingen, Germany. Now just what are we doing over here, and what has it got to do with the Declaration of Independence?
Well, the men like Washington and Jefferson who wrote that Declaration put a lot of big words in it, back in 1776 -- independence", inalienable rights", democracy". And now, we're in Europe, thousands of miles away, to make sure those words man the same things they've always meant, for us Americans and maybe for some of these Europeans, too.
They say, "You don't appreciate something until you lose it." Well, we soldiers haven't lost any of the rights we're used to, but all around us we see people who never have known some of those rights, those big words in the Declaration of Independence. And when we try to explain to them what life is like in the United States of America, and the Europeans can't believe that ordinary people could have it so good, then we appreciate "democracy" and some of the other long words a lot more.
They may be jaw-breakers, but they're a lot easier to swallow than some of the short ones like "fear", "war", and "death".