A patriot's love for the United States

  • Published
  • By Dr. Roy Heidicker
  • 4th Fighter Wing Historian
In a way, to me the 4th of July is more like Valentine's Day. It is an opportunity for me to reflect on that great object of my affection, the United States of America.

My wife is a very understanding woman. She knows that I love her dearly and she is the center of my world. But she also knows that I have a passionate, all-consuming love for America. I think a major reason I became a historian was so I could pursue my passion full time.

When I was a kid my heroes were the great Americans who fought and won World War II. I did models of many of the main planes, tanks and ships of that war. I thought, as many did, that these people were "our greatest generation."

When I served in the Marine Corps, I felt I was emulating my heroes of World War II. Later when I was in graduate school, studying different periods of U.S. history, I learned about all the great Americans who have always served our nation in times of need. From the Revolutionary War through the Global War on Terrorism today, dedicated men and women have stood up and accepted the challenge.

July 4, 1776 was merely the beginning of this commitment to liberty and freedom that has continued these many years. Think of a world without the United States of America. Would it be ruled by Hitler's Nazis or Stalin's Communists? Would Al-Qaeda terrorists be annihilating most of the people on the planet? Our nation has stood, and still stands, as the Minuteman, Yankee, Doughboy, G.I., Marine, Sailor and Airman confronting evil in the world.

Since 1942, and with the Eagle Squadrons before that, the 4th Fighter Wing has fought for the ideals of our 1776 patriots. This year is the 50th anniversary of the re-opening of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, and next year is the 50th anniversary of the 4th Fighter Wing being at Seymour Johnson. Anniversaries are a time to reflect and a time to celebrate. This 4th of July, reflect on the sacrifice and dedication of our founding fathers. Celebrate 230 years of our great nation.

And to all who belong to or serve the 4th Fighter Wing, you are the living embodiment of that sacrifice and dedication begun so long ago. Have a happy Fourth of July, you've earned it!