As I was starting on my hike well before sunrise Saturday morning, the crunch of my boots on the gravel trail caused me to think about those serving in our military all over the world and the sound their boots make every day on our behalf. I have been able to do this hike virtually every day for the last 248 days … the park is paid for by taxes we pay to East Bay Regional Parks … the road I walk on to get here is paid for by taxes we pay to the County … most of all, the freedoms we all enjoy are because of the taxes we pay to the United States Government. No one likes paying taxes .. and it is too easy to complain or protest paying your taxes based on wasteful government or excess spending on priorities you may or may not agree with. Stop and think about the blessings that we enjoy and appreciate those freedoms and blessings are not free. If you follow one of your tax dollars – a very large portion of it will be going to put food on the table for a service man or woman, who hasn’t seen their spouse, baby or two-year-old daughter for the last 18 months, while serving in Afghanistan or somewhere around the world. Think of those serving us in public service (military, fire and police services, etc) and how they risk their life willingly. The least you can do is write that check or file that tax return with gratitude. We can argue whether our government should be involved in different causes throughout the world, and certainly challenge the waste in government. Probably one of the most frustrating inefficiencies is the rift between political parties that prevents meaningful progress in Congress – the folks elected to help us! As I write a check this week I am going to do so with gratitude and challenge you to do the same. While at it, write another check to a charity or faith-based organization that will further help someone in need. I walked out my front door early this morning with my border collies and was up on a trail above San Ramon Valley in about a half hour. I’m enjoying a beautiful sunrise and appreciate that that is not possible without the freedoms of living in this country. This is a land of opportunity, but certainly not equal opportunity for everyone and there is a responsibility to take care of each other, and yes, pay your fair share of the overhead (government) to make it happen and for our safety and freedom. When you write your tax check and address it to the Internal Revenue Service… put that red white and blue “forever” stamp on the front with gratitude and pride.
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