Fourth of July reminds me of so many things. There are the traditional barbeques, fireworks and vacations but this day represents so much more. I recently read a couple of books to help me in an effort to become more aware of what goes on in our world. One was Left to Tellabout the Rawanda holocaust and how 8 women spent 3 months in a bathroom hiding while their relatives and friends were being slaughtered. This is a true story of a horrible tragedy and a inspirational story of faith. Another couple of books I recently read about Afghanistan are "Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Sons". Although the characters were made up, the story could be true. Reading these books gave me a bigger appreciation and awareness of just how blessed we are to live in this country. There are so many people that will never experience what we take for granted like running water, indoor bathrooms and just a roof over our heads. We have cars, jobs and access to just about any kind of food or drink we desire. We have access to health care, education and numerous programs and options if we have a special need. We are free to come and go as we please and speak our mind. Of course, all of this came at a price. Many have sacrificed for all of us to share these freedoms. I salute and thank all those serving, have served and members of their families for their sacrifices to keep this country free. In appreciation for all we have and to honor those who sacrificed for our freedom, I encourage everyone to consider doing something to give back, whether it is helping someone who lives next door or on the other side of the world, through donations, volunteering or just a kind word.