Editorial: A legacy of patriotism brings poignance to Fourth of July

For the Most Patriotic City in America, there are few times of the year more poignant and culturally unifying than July 4. In celebrating America’s 238th anniversary, virtually anywhere we look carries the visible signs of our love for country.

The heart of this force that knits us together could be the sense of mission we share in supporting the contributions toward national defense at China Lake. Since its establishment in 1943, the base has evolved from a neighbor to a symbiotic partner whose connection to the city can be found in the hearts and minds of the thousands of men and women who live and breathe a shared commitment to keeping our country safe.

Each morning the majestic fanfare of our National Anthem is carried across the installation barriers into neighboring homes and businesses. In the evening we hear the somber notes of Taps as our colors are retired. This invariable routine is a constant reminder that liberty is something we all must work for every day.

For those of us who rest in safety far from the front lines, we find whatever ways we can to stand by those who push boundaries and take personal risks for our collective safety.

Rather than decry the “noise pollution,” we revel in the sounds of freedom. Instead of protesting our proximity of a cutting-edge test facility, we ask how we can accommodate the mission.

Every year, we come together as one community to celebrate our national pride in a spectacular Fourth of July fireworks celebration (see related story, this page). We have parades to thank those who serve and candlelight vigils to remember those we lost.

Every day we see the faces of our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers in active service decorating the signposts along our major boulevards — a constant reminder of the commitment of a few who watch over us all.

Perhaps our habit of paying tribute was bred into those who grew up on base, saluting our flag and standing at attention and singing about our Star Spangled Banner on a daily basis — offering constant reminders of why we are here and what is at stake.

That part of our base culture is gone, but the community has kept the spirit of patriotism alive. However the face of our community changes, we believe our blood will always run red, white and blue.

Story First Published: 2014-07-02