Dahlonega, Georgia – 4th of July

Dahlonega is a little town in North Georgia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It started as a gold mining town way back and has now developed into one the best tourist attractions in Georgia. There is also a relatively large college in the downtown area called the University of North Georgia, formally known as North Georgia College and State University. My oldest daughter went to that college her freshman and sophomore years and then transferred to Samford University, where she graduated. My youngest daughter attended and graduated with honors from the University of North Georgia.

So, to simply say we know of Dahlonega is an understatement.

Each year, this little town does something for Memorial Day and the 4th of July that is the most humbling and most honoring thing I have ever seen. For every serviceman or servicewoman that is from Dahlonega and died in action in any war, the town has a cross with that person’s name and the war they fought in. The town takes these crosses and puts them in the ground at 50-75 foot intervals on all streets throughout the town. The oldest, I believe, dates back to WWI and goes up through today.

The sight of those crosses as you drive through town is simply arresting to your spirit. You would think that the population of Dahlonega would be double today had these young service people lived.

Each cross represents a young life that was cut short. In most cases, they died on foreign soil and gave the last ounce of themselves so we could live free in the United States. Most of these crosses represent very young adults that did not have enough life left to be a daddy/mommy, raise a family, and grow old with joy. Most of them died in pain away from their families.

When you see these crosses, it changes the conversation in your car, it changes your mood, and you cannot escape the thankfulness for where we live and the freedom we have.

So today, if you are in the US, look around you and realize there is no other place on the globe where you can be anything you want to be and where you can worship and choose to live your life as a free person. The next time you see a serviceman or servicewoman, shake their hand and thank them. KT

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