Iconic words... "Land of the free and home of the brave."

A stirring tribute to the bravery and dedication of our forefathers’ commitment to the ideals of individual liberty and the right of every man to determine his own destiny and it still rings true today.

The national anthem fills millions of Americans with pride and inspiration...for others, it raises controversy. Whatever response you personally have when hearing the “Star Spangled Banner”, it is important to note the critical relationship established in the final bars of the song... "Land of the free and home of the brave.”

Free and brave are inextricably intertwined. One cannot be free without the bravery to own the consequences of one’s own choices. If we refuse to accept the responsibility for the consequences of the decisions we make...if we are the victims rather than rulers of our own destinies...if we think that we should reap the benefits of our good choices while blaming others and whining about the consequences of our bad decisions, our cowardice disqualifies us from being truly free.

The desire to be free burns in every heart, but without the bravery to make tough choices and live with the consequences rather than blaming others for our failures, freedom is simply a distant foreign concept.

One has to wonder if a country bound up in political correctness; made up of people seeking “safe spaces;” where thought police build dictionaries of “trigger words” that might offend; where the presence of a red “MAGA” ball cap causes panic and fear... does that country have the courage to be free?

Freedom comes with a price...from Crispus Atticus to MLK and continuing today thousands of American’s have paid the ultimate price to defend it. Others have suffered financial loss or loss of friends and family or valued titles or public honor in pursuit of freedom. Running from personal responsibility, blaming others for your bad choices, hiring a lawyer to prove your case and becoming a victim is the coward’s lifestyle and ends in bondage NOT freedom.

Perhaps the idea of freedom has run its course in America. The “Nanny” state promising utopia for all... if you’ll just do what you’re told... is on the ballot in 2020. The true idea of freedom as understood by the generations that preceded us is not “Free” college or “Free” healthcare or “Free” housing. Nor is it freedom from challenging ideas or controversial speech.

The freedom enshrined in our national anthem and founding documents...free to vote...free to sit and eat where you wish...free to enjoy the fruits of your labor... free to choose your own path... the freedom to dare great things AND fail takes courage. This is the freedom that made America the greatest hope of all mankind in all of recorded history.

Without bravery, there can be no freedom. Are you courageous enough to pay the price to preserve the ideals of freedom for the next generation?

America was founded on mankind’s burning quest for freedom. We have not always lived up to our ideals and the fabric of our society is fraying...our only hope is a rebirth of true freedom across this land.

Benjamin Franklin may have described the situation best more than 200 years ago, “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Do you have the courage to be free?

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Capt. Jim Kinney USN (ret) is a highly decorated 26 year veteran of Naval aviation with extensive experience in DC.  He served on Gov. Huckabee’s presidential campaign staff.  A noted international speaker, Capt. Kinney is available to speak to civic groups for special events, luncheons, dinners and retreats.  Contact him at Captain5772@gmail.com

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