July 4th is a time to celebrate in America, yes, but it’s also a time to reflect on the freedoms and opportunities we have thanks to thousands of military putting their lives on the line every day.
No matter your stance on the war or in wars past, it’s people like this one soldier who lets us celebrate fireworks, barbecue and beaches on July 4.
One picture started floating around the Internet in 2004 of Warrant Officer 1 Brook Turner tending to a plot of grass with a pair of scissors.
According to the Salem Statesman Journal, Turner needed a piece of home:
“[Turner] asked his wife to send him some grass seed because he missed the green he was accustomed to in Hawaii and before that in Oregon.
Kim Turner was happy to send her husband a little slice of home. She bought a packet of grass seed and a small hoe and mailed them with other goodies in a care box.
Brook prepared a spot behind the single-wide trailer he shares with a few other soldiers, lining the 3-foot-by-7-foot area with large rocks and adding some dirt.
As soon as the seed arrived, he planted it. He knew keeping the seed moist would be a challenge in the 125-degree heat.
His fellow soldiers teased him about his failed project, but he was determined to grow a patch of grass. He talked with some Iraqis civilians authorized to be on post, and arranged to buy some sod. He purchased seven 1-foot-by-3-foot patches.
Turner watered his lawn three times a day. He used a 5-gallon jug he filled in the bathroom, where the camp was running water.”
Planting grass is not uncommon for military overseas, according to Snopes. In fact, another soldier planted a similar plot at Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar.
That solider wrote:
“The grass patch is located at the recently declassified Air Force base in Qatar, known as Al Udeid. I lived three months of my life (fall 2002) two tent rows from that grass. It was the only grass on the whole base, and though I don’t know who planted it originally, I do know that the soldiers who rotated through that tent each became caretakers of it. They watered it from their water bottles, trimmed the grass with scissors and kept it shaded in the summer with a tarp awning over the front of the tent…to protect it from the 135-degree summer sun.
The grass is real, and really is a comment on how (U.S. soldiers) work to make the best of things when we deploy in defense of our country and your freedom.”
So, the next time you cut a lawn, or plant a tree, or water a shrub, think about how much a little piece of green can mean to someone halfway across the world.
There is something great about living on “American soil”.