If you are a hunter you likely lay awake some nights dreaming of monster bucks. Other times you will coerce your spouse and kids into watching television shows of others facing down antlered giants the likes of which you may never see. We labor over our rifles to make sure they are ready. There’s trips to the range to check zero and practice for that few seconds we may have to take our quarry. We try different bullet and powder combinations looking for that edge to help us best the buck. We hope we are ready and we our rifle is too.
Cleaning my new R15 in .30 Rem. AR the other day, the realization struck me that at that very moment there are other Americans quite possibly wondering if their rifles are ready as well. Wondering if they have practiced enough. Wondering if they are prepared to face the enemy that may remain quite unknown until he is in their sights. And maybe, wondering if anyone cares what they are thinking or feeling.
I’ve have never been in military combat. My military service during the first Gulf War was stateside, so was my rifle. My kinfolk proudly carried rifles during the Civil war; very likely the same ones they hunted with. Other relatives shouldered their rifles in Europe and the Pacific and my father used a rifle in Korea. I’ve heard the stories that are so hard to get him to tell. I’ve seen his scars made by the rifles of his enemies. I’m proud of him. Good friends carried their rifles to Vietnam, I’m proud of them too.
Most Americans are far removed from the terror our troops face everyday. We give blood and fly our flags on our porch. Many do more. Most will if the time comes. But so often we get caught up in our own lives that we forget, or just relate to the conflict as an ongoing soap opera that airs continually on our TV. We forget that other Americans have maybe prowled the forest behind the old homeplace for the last time, that they will never see the glimmer in their child’s eye when they get that first gun for Christmas or get to take that child on their first hunt. We forget OR conveniently ignore.
This fall if you’re lucky enough to be crouched under a big oak, rifle in hand, enjoying the freedoms we have in America. Understand you are there because other Americans before you, and quite possibly at the same time, have been and are ready. They wont know you. They may not even know anyone who hunts. But make no mistake they are there for you and every other American. For those who would take up their rifle and go but can’t. And for those who could but wont.
My rifle is a symbol of freedom. My rifle reminds me how that freedom was achieved. My rifle keeps me company as I set and watch a laurel covered ridge. And, it serves a constant reminder that liberty and freedom do not come without a price. No matter your political views on guns, hunting, the war on terror or illegal aliens, there is a group of Americans with rifle in hand that are ready to pay the supreme sacrifice so you can keep on believing any which way you want.
Let us pray they and their rifles are ready.
HAPPY 4th of JULY !!!