Reed's freedom holds different meaning

While other Americans decide which cookout to attend this Independence Day, Bills wide receiver Josh Reed and his family have much more on their mind. Reed's older brother, Norbert Reed, is a U.S. Army corporal who has been based in Afghanistan since February.

"He left right before the Super Bowl," Reed said. "He's supposed to be back sometime in July. We're just anticipating his return; he said it's time to come home."

Reed and his family always have Norbert on their mind. However, holidays, especially the Fourth of July, remind them of how thankful they are that he is participating in a very important fight every day.

Reed remembers how he and his brother would spend a lot of time together as children, and whenever Norbert put his mind to doing a task, he always completed it thoroughly. This makes Josh and his mother certain that Norbert is taking the same approach to his duties in the military.

"He puts our mind at ease," Reed said. "Actually, I got to talk to him (Tuesday) night. I get to talk to him about twice a week, and hearing his voice that often really helps a lot. Just to know that he's doing okay and that he's healthy is nice. He's most excited about coming home to see his kids."

The Reed family is from Rayne, La., and the Bills wideout is spending time in his hometown before reporting to training camp. He plans to spend the holiday with many of his family members, and there is no doubt that they will be thinking of Norbert.

Having his family together on the Fourth is an important thing to Reed. With the absence of Norbert, they will have a constant reminder of the true meaning for this holiday. Without the efforts of Norbert and other American soldiers, there wouldn't be nearly as much to celebrate.

"I think about him every day," Reed said. "Not just because he's in the force, but every day we get to talk to him, we like to let him know that we care about him and we really appreciate not only what he's doing, but also what the rest of the soldiers are doing."

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