red, white, and blue star with initials B V A

The Independence Day holiday is one that I greatly look forward to every year. I love the outdoor summer reunions with family and friends, the parades, the barbecues, and the many other traditions in which I’ve enjoyed being a participant over the years.

Like many of our veterans who have served overseas in defense of what this wonderful holiday means to us as Americans, I have sorely missed the Fourth of July when I have been away or still recovering from injuries that I sustained in the first Gulf War.

This week, I’ve contemplated even more than usual the blessings and fruits rooted in American independence, now 246 years in the making. To someone like me who has served outside the country in some trying circumstances, many of these blessings are truly indescribable in their scope, especially when compared with much of the rest of the world.

That’s why I begin worrying a little when I hear, as I have this very week, that a recent national poll shows that just 39 percent of Americans are proud of their country today, down 12 points from five years ago and 30 points from 11 years ago.

While I worry about those declining figures and what may be behind them, I continue to be encouraged by what I experience every single day as I associate personally and professionally with my fellow veterans at the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)—those who represent the very best in bravery, resilience, self-reliance, optimism, and acts of kindness toward one another in every part of the country. Although they have already sacrificed their precious sight in defense of what we celebrate this weekend, they were willing to sacrifice even more back then and remain equally willing today as all of us at BVA, unitedly, work to make life better for one another.

The United States of America is the land of the free because it is indeed the home of the brave. I salute the founders of our great nation and those whose vision and pioneering efforts have made it the envy of all other nations.

Those with vision and a hopeful pioneering spirit include my fellow veterans who can no longer see with their physical eyes. To all of you and your families, and to all our BVA friends, supporters, and other stakeholders, Happy Independence Day. Thank you for your service, sacrifice, and past generosity. May our great Republic continue to prosper.

If you wish to continue your support of our veterans who have lost their sight, please consider a small gift of $5, $10, or more today. Click here to donate now. Also, if you know a blinded veteran or a family member of one, please tell them about BVA so we can offer our services. You can call our headquarters office at 1-800-669-7079 and we will take it from there.

With great appreciation,

Donald D. Overton, Jr.

Executive Director