NORTH CREEK Army Sergeant Paul Bruce Sears, on temporary leave from duty in Iraq, sat down at his dining room table Wednesday and offered his thoughts about the Fourth of July, while reflecting on the role of American troops now serving overseas. Independence, thats what we are giving Americans, he said. The things that we take for granted the ability to hop in your car, at your own will and drive to the grocery store or even flip on a light switch. Sears, 37, of Combs Rd. in North Creek, is now near the end of his two-week leave. Hell be returning soon to Tikrit, Iraq to serve out the last six months of his second deployment. It is also the last six months of his 20 year military service. Sears is a 1st sergeant in the reserves. serving with the US. Army Corps of Engineers. In his civilian life, Sears works as a state corrections officer. My feelings about independence havent changed since my deployment, I just see it more now, he said. The flag is never left alone without a light, it never touches the ground, he added. If I yell at my kids for mishandling it, its for a reason. His reflections on value of the soldiers service to their country are pointed and sincere, but his commitment to family is equally notable. Were allowed to take two weeks, he said. I was able to schedule my leave around my sons graduation from Johnsburg and the Fourth. For US. soldiers at home and abroad, July Fourth is a time of reflection, and it was for Sears, he said. Being in the military 19 and a half years, I think a soldier may look at the flag differently than the average citizen, Sears said. The Fourth is traditionally a time of celebration of the nations principles too, Sears said. Its one of my strongest beliefs , he said. Its about what we have here, and about how we have it. Not only is Independence Day a time of reflection for service members, but also their family members who have been left behind. Tanya Wemett of Chestertown is a mother of two sons, both of whom are currently serving in the armed forces. Logan Wemett, 21, a graduate of North Warren High School, is serving in the Navy, stationed on the U.S.S Kitty Hawk. Nolan Wemett, 19, also a graduate of North Warren, is in the Air Force, currently stationed in California, she said. I am definitely enthusiastic and proud about their service Wemett said. At the same time to those of us left behind, there is a definite loneliness. She said their absence effects her profoundly. The Fourth of July has always been a family event, she said. This year I was with family, but not with my boys Something was missing. But with modern technology providing email, instant messaging and cell phones, times may be a little easier for 21st century military relatives compared with the plights of past generations, she said. Thank God for modern communication, Wemett said. I was able to talk to both of my boys on Independence Day That is something my grandmother wasnt able to do.