I think the more we hear about what's going on in the rest of the world, the more we appreciate all we have here in the U.S.A. and I think that patriotism really comes out in so many of us on the 4th of July.

For me, the day that marks our independence is also another day to honor those who have defended our freedom over the history of our nation. Those who sacrificed their lives, those who suffered injuries protecting us, those who have done their part to defend us, and those who are defending us right now. They are true heroes.

I saw three men in a shopping plaza in Point Beach on Wednesday collecting donations for wounded veterans. I stopped to do my part and shook each of their hands to thank them for their service. I have seen other people do that, and was so touched by it, I try to do it all the time now.

I just think that any chance we get, we should appreciate what we have in this great nation, and the amazingly brave people who have made and are making our freedom possible.