Last week I had my annual college reunion and we celebrated the 50th year of the Salzburg Austria program and the 35th year since 39 of my friends and I started our year in Salzburg.  We talked about all the different adventures we had gone on.  Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we had decided to take a tour of the eastern block countries, Czechoslovakia, East German, Berlin and Hungary.  When we were in Prague it was Russian Friendship Week.  That is the anniversary of the Chech uprising against the Russians and troops were everywhere.  6:00 pm curfews, Russian Flags lining the streets.  It was a site we are not accustomed to.  

The next morning we were walking around and there was this long line at a store so we got in.  We just knew there must have been something great at the store.  When we finally got into the store the shelves were empty and what ever they were in line for was in limited supply and they had to ask for it.  Can you imagine going into any store in the US and finding the shelves empty?  We can get anything we want every day and the stores are open until late in the evening almost every day.  

A few of our friends had actually gone out that second night and stolen several of the Russian flags with the Star and Cycle. A couple of our friends got caught, without the flags in their possession and were taken to the jail.  They were lucky they weren’t held and were just in violation of the curfew. When our bus hit the border, they randomly searched several bags.  One of the bags pulled off, had a flag on top.  Luckily that young man sweated profusely and his bag smelled so bad the guards didn’t want to search it and put all the bags back on board.

After we left the check point the story of what had gone on the night before came out and all of us were then glad that we didn’t all get arrested that day.  

The reason for telling that story is to remind us of all the freedoms we have.  We don’t have to wonder when there will be toilet paper arriving in a store, or if there will be any food in the grocery store.  We throw away more food that spoils in our refrigerators than those people had.  We don’t live in constant fear of going out at night and being arrested.  We can go for a walk, buy what ever we want and celebrate with friends.

Thank a vet for our freedoms and truly be grateful for our country while you celebrate this weekend.

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