Beginning of the year 1976, there was a build-up to a celebration of the 4th of July. It was the bicentennial of our nation. I was so excited for this celebration and imagined where we would spend the day, knowing that the fireworks would be special and the day would be incredible.
Also, at the beginning of the year of 1976, we knew we were due for orders. This would involve a move, most likely overseas. I hoped that we would somehow still be in the states for the fourth. As the time drew nearer for orders, places like Rota, Spain; Cuba; Scotland; Iceland; were all mentioned. Some of the places I could readily picture myself, others I couldn’t. Our orders came in and they were for Yokosuka, Japan. I never ever thought of going to Japan. I showed Dale my support, but inside I was questioning such a move. My thoughts of celebrating the bi-centennial in the states were dashed.
We arrived in Japan in early June. We were settled in our little Japanese apartment by the first of July. We experienced our first typhoon July 2nd through the 6th. A typhoon was lingering off the coast of Japan, dumping rain, wind and lots of water on Yokosuka and the immediate area.
On the fourth, we headed onto the base. We waded through ankle deep water to get to our car, and then we half floated/half drove to the base where there was going to be a parade.
That soggy fourth of July will always live in my memories as one of the very best celebrations I have experienced. Passing through the main gate of the base, we were home on the 4th of July. America was present on foreign soil. The spirit of our country paraded itself with the sailors and marines stationed on the base. The host country graciously honored this celebration. I stood in deep water that fourth of July, 1976, with a winter coat on while a parade passed in front of us. The base was alive with the indomitable spirit of America.
Although the rain and time has produced fuzzy photos, the memories are crisp in my mind. I stood in a country, once at war with my homeland, and together we celebrated the bi-centennial. The celebration I had envisioned at the beginning of the year was far different than the incredible time I had that day while standing in water and straining to remain upright in the heavy wind.
We once were told that our love for America would grow living overseas. I did not think that possible, but it was. The pride and honor I felt that day in 1976 has only grown for this country that has been my homeland. My heart beats red, white and blue. I am a patriot. I stand with tears in my eyes for our flag.
As much as I love this country, my heart yearns for more. Hebrews 11:16 says, “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (NKJV) I cannot wait to be in my forever home, standing with my Creator.