NORMAN — Editor’s note: The following story was submitted to the Transcript’s annual Christmas story contest.
As the years go by, the love and affection of home intensifies. Whenever a holiday comes around, we want to be home with friends and familiar surroundings. If one of our family cannot be home for the holidays then the holiday rhythm loses its cadence.
I first became aware of this important tenant in 1944, when the United States was fighting a fierce war in Europe. My Uncle was in France, and wrote to us that he was not going to be home for the holidays that year. He could not send us anything, and we could not send him anything. What was there to send? If so, the time it would take to get there was uncertain and questionable.
The only thing I really wanted was for him to be home. It was not to be, however. The cost of freedom was too high. At home we were enjoying freedom from want, freedom from hunger and freedom from fear. I was just learning about these things in the fourth grade. My teacher said that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was the great legacy that was enjoyed by all Americans. It is even more important today.
We care about life, it matters so much that we pray for each other every day. We care about liberty, it is important because it allows us to govern our own destiny and to seek a measure of the world’s fare. The pursuit of happiness is the glow that provides meaning and purpose to our lives.
Americans have always relentlessly pursued these things. It is part of our fundamental rights as citizens of the United States. We have always known why we were fighting. We even fight for the rights of others, beyond our own shores. It has never been so apparent as it is right now.
I have learned that the terrorists in this world do not pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They do not understand what it is or what it means. They apparently adhere to the tenant that political power is anchored in religious zeal. It is the root of most problems.
Our forefathers determined to separate church and state. It has been the recipe that has made us great and made our legacy of greatness possible. It was “so written” more than 200 years ago.
We praise God this Christmas because we have cherished these elements that make the message of Christmas possible. It has never been more important that it is right now, after 6,000 precious Americans have died in the Middle East to make it possible for us to enjoy today and all the exciting tomorrows right here in the great USA. After all, there is no place like home.