July 4th is one of my favorite holidays.

I am thankful for the freedom that we have to celebrate this great day.

One of the special memories that I have about celebrating freedom was the a special bus ride to Washington, D.C. with a group of veterans from Harrison.

Marcus Jones and I had the privilege of "chaperoning" about 40 veterans and their wives to see the World War II Memorial.

Along the road, we made a stop in Bedford, Va. to visit the National D-Day Memorial. This museum is a must see for everyone.

It is an outdoor facility that depicts that day when WWII turned the tide in favor of the allied forces. Visitors can see dramatic depictions of what that day was like.

When traveling with the veterans, we toured the area on foot and then we had a retired college professor from the University of Virginia get on our tour bus and give us a bus tour of the facility.

During his narrative, it was obvious that he knew history and that he was a story teller.

As the tour progressed, some of the men became emotional. They were reliving the days that they fought in the war. They were remembering the friends and brother that they lost during the war.

It was an emotional 10-minute ride. It was a ride that changed my life.

I was too young to really remember the Vietnam War. I knew it was happening, but I don't really remember much.

This week I had the opportunity to interview a coach that I respect very much in Bob Reese. He spoke of the war and I saw the emotion that it caused him all of these years later.

War is horrible.

I had a very close seat as Kim and Andrew Campbell lost a son in Iraq. It was a deeply emotional time.

My father-in-law Harley Thomason fought in WWII and my father Dean Brasel was in the national guard. I appreciate them very much for their sacrifice as well as the sacrifice of so many others.

The thought of war put sports in its place. I am still sick over the Razorbacks losing the CWS, but in the scheme of things, it doesn't really matter.

I am thankful for my freedom. I am thankful for the people that gave for my family.

• • •

Wednesday night my family was back in town for the annual fireworks display in Harrison.

I want to mention that it was one of the best — if not the best — that I have seen in town. The atmosphere was great. Matt Bell was the only one on the microphone and he spoke very little.

The bouncy house was super for Abram Henry, and there were plenty of lighting bugs to keep us occupied before the show.

Jeff Brasel is the sports editor of the Harrison Daily Times. E-mail him at or follow him at

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