Have you ever spent much time thinking about Independence Day and those who put their lives on the line to ensure that Americans remain free and, well, independent?
Here’s some food for thought for those who look upon this holiday as just another reason to fire up the grill, play at the park or light some fireworks.
We live in a military community. Eastern New Mexico is home to Cannon Air Force Base, which is where the 27th Special Operations Wing — a component of the Air Force Special Operations Command — is headquartered.
The base has been a part of our community since 1942, with young warriors deploying from here to serve in combat theaters around the world.
Many tactical aspects of Cannon’s mission have changed over the 71 years of its existence. It has been home to strategic bombers, tactical fighter-bombers, high-performance fighter jets, reconnaissance aircraft, fixed- and rotary-wing cargo-carrying aircraft and, most recently, a combination of most of all of that.
These aircraft don’t fly themselves. They are piloted by highly trained warriors who come here from all parts of this nation. And don’t forget the ground teams that fly in and out of battlefields on these birds.
They are serviced by highly trained maintenance crew members who work day and night to keep the aircraft flight-ready.
The base is staffed by administrative personnel — both military and civilian — who serve their nation with dedication and selflessness.
And it is commanded by senior field-grade officers who devote their careers to serving their country and fighting for its principles.
We celebrate Independence Day with a feeling of gratitude for all the sacrifice that has occurred on our behalf. Make no mistake that eastern New Mexico has paid its share over many years.
And while Cannon AFB’s personality and makeup over the years has changed, its fundamental mission has remained the same. It is to protect the nation, to preserve its freedom, to safeguard the liberty we all enjoy and to enable us to celebrate joyously the founding of our great nation.
When you see a young man or woman in fatigues, or when you see someone in civilian clothes who’s wearing a Cannon AFB identification badge on their shirt or hanging from their neck, extend a hand. Thank them for protecting us from those who would take those freedoms away from us.
Enjoy your barbecue.
Happy birthday, America.
— Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis Media Inc. editorial board, which includes Publisher Ray Sullivan and Editor David Stevens.