Thoughts on the Fourth of July

By Lee Kilpatrick

While I wasn’t born on the Fourth of July, it’s certainly one of my favorite days of the year, right behind Christmas and Easter.  Like those two special days on the calendar, July 4th is a day that I traditionally spend with my family.  Sometimes we’re at a beach or state park, while many times we simply celebrate at my home in north Georgia.

No matter where we’ve celebrated this special day, I’ve spent many Independence Days hovering over a grill full of hamburgers and hotdogs.  While my kids play and my wife catches up with the friends and relatives who have gathered to celebrate together, I am often left to my own thoughts.  In these quiet moments, I immediately begin to reflect upon the many who have sacrificed for me and others to enjoy the bountiful freedoms of this country.

It’s easier to remember that we have thousands of troops who have been serving in Afghanistan since 2001, while thousands more have been in Iraq for a full decade.  Just in my own lifetime, I have known and cherished friends and family members who served in the Middle East, as well as Vietnam, Korea, and the European and Pacific theaters of World War II.  Some of these folks volunteered, while others were drafted.  To a man, they all served the rest of us with a level of determination and courage that none of us ever has to rise to in civilian life.

Our military comes from all walks of life—from orphans to the sons and daughters of United States Senators—and they come from places as different as Brooklyn and Des Moines.  From the inner cities to the suburbs and rural America, they come together with a unified purpose.  They protect our freedoms and create for us this country we love.  Because of them, we all prosper, from the first breath we take every morning to our last waking moment of the evening.

I also think about what we can do to be good stewards of this freedom that renews for us each day, courtesy of God above and soldiers abroad.  For me, it’s a matter of being the best I can be, whether it’s raising my family with the right values or doing business with integrity.  It’s a real blessing for me to work with the people of BBI Spreaders every day.  None of us is larger than the team itself, a team that lives out the American dream each day.

We’re all in this together, producing goods conceived with American creativity.  The ideas then develop into reality through American ingenuity.  And then we make them right here in Georgia, taking the ideas from American minds and placing them in American hands.  These hands ensure that much like our armed forces work to spread freedom to faraway lands, our spreaders also take American quality to lands as diverse as Turkey, China, Australia, and Chile.

I don’t think we’re the only ones out there living up to the promise of America.  That promise is perhaps best exemplified by the farmers across our country that rise way before the rest of us to feed the world.  I grew up in a family that farmed, and as I was growing up, like many kids I took for granted what we were doing day to day.  Now, as a professional working in the service of farmers across this great land, I stand more and more in awe of what they do each day to provide for the rest of us.  Just as the soldiers who defend us write new chapters of our liberty in the battlefields abroad, our nation’s farmers do the same here in the fields across our great country.  Food itself is foundational to our freedom, as is a thriving middle class of small to mid-market businesses.  Our farmers work tirelessly to provide for us and operate for a smarter tomorrow.

As you’re grilling those hotdogs, waterskiing, or taking pictures of family and friends gathered together tomorrow, stop for a minute to remember those who work so hard for the rest of us to enjoy the Fourth of July, and all the other days of the calendar.  Don’t forget to say a prayer for those who can’t be with us for these celebrations, as they sacrifice their own enjoyment of freedom to protect us around the world. 

Lee Kilpatrick is Director of Sales and Marketing at BBI Spreaders.