Today is the anniversary of the "Shot Heard Around The World."
If you weren't paying attention during American History class in high school and have no idea what I'm talking about, you may remember this:
That's right. It's the anniversary of the start of the American Revolution. See, a few centuries ago the country was actually ruled by British Monarchy instead of Fox News and MSNBC. A bunch of Americans wanted to be free so they went to war against the British. They estimate over 50,000 soldiers either died or were wounded fighting for freedom.
In fact, it may be news to you, but there have been LOTS of wars over the past century during which Americans sacrificed their lives so our democratic freedoms can stay intact. Almost 3 million people have been wounded or died in those battles.
Can you imagine that sacrifice? Laying down your life so that others can be free? Think about it. Chief Warrant Officer Eric W Totten probably had just a few seconds to think about it as his Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan on May 5, 2006. He didn't live to see his 35th birthday just five days later. The only thing I have in common with this guy is we share the same birthday.
So here's my point: all these people have died for you - for your freedom and to make this country a better place. What are you doing about it?
How are you making the United States of America better? I'm not talking about supporting gun rights, civil rights, or politics here. I'm talking about the real things that make our nation great.
Help your fellow American. Give them a leg up. Smile to others as you walk through the park, Wal-Mart, or whatever you do on a Saturday. Volunteer at an animal shelter or senior center. Walk or bike in a Cancer Cure race. Donate to a charity. Clean up the park. Help the homeless. Give back to the world around you.
Stop pointing ideological fingers at each other and just be nice to people.
We have the greatest country on the face of this earth. Let's make it better so those Americans that died so fearlessly for our freedom didn't die in vain.
One more thing I have to ask you - whenever you see a soldier, thank them for their service and sacrifice. It doesn't have to be April 19th or July 4th to appreciate them.
Wal Ozello is the author of Assignment 1989: The Time Travel Wars, a novel about World War III fought as a temporal cold war. He's never served in the Armed Forces but is thankful for their sacrifice and all they do to keep this country great.