Freedom Isn’t Free

How many times have those words been spoken throughout the years? For many of us, war was just something we learned about in our history books, or stories that we heard from our parents and grandparents. I am on the very tail end of the “baby boomer” generation. I was born at a time when our country was fighting the war in Vietnam, but it ended when I was very young and I have no memories of that time.

My dad not only fought in World War II, but was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in battle. I remember looking at his Purple Heart nestled in the black case, so proud of my daddy. He carried many physical scars from the wounds he received during the war. Any time he reached out his left hand, I saw the long, thin scar that ran up his arm where the bullet first entered his body. In the summer when he had his shirt off, or wore a T-Shirt, I would see the indentation/scars on his left shoulder area where the bullet passed through his shoulder as well……oh so close to his heart. Every time I saw those scars, it reminded of my fathers’ sacrifice for his country.

I remember the first “war in Iraq” very vividly. I was in labor with our second child as we watched the news reports stating that the talks with Iraq had broken down. He was a week old when the “war” started and two weeks old when it ended. In that one week span, young American soldiers lost their lives.

When the current war in Iraq and Afganistan started I thought it too would end quickly. I was wrong. Over ten years later, it is still raging and too many American soldiers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters have come home in flag draped caskets. My heart breaks for their families.

I have a nephew-in-law who is a Marine. He is in Afganistan as we speak. Just a few short weeks ago, he posted the picture below on his Facebook page. A rocket hit their basketball court just before he and some fellow soldiers were going out to play. Thank God it did not go off. I hate to imagine what would have happened if it did…..

Earlier this week, I was again reminded of the heavy price we have paid over the years for our freedom. I was at Mountain View High School here in Bend for a band concert. I left the auditorium briefly to use the “facilities”. As walked through the foyer, something caught my eye. Something I had never seen before in my many visits to this same building. There, hanging on the wall in two shadow boxes were two uniforms. One belonging to a Marine, and one belonging to an Army soldier. I was curious so I went closer, close enough to read the metal name plates attached to those boxes. As I read, the tears began to flow. Those were the uniforms of two Mountain View graduates killed in the current war. Two young men who my oldest daughter who is only 23 knew. Two brave young men who gave their lives defending my country.. Two young men who will never hug their mother again. Two young men who will never come home to Bend, but are home with our Heavenly Father. Two young heros…….

I don’t care what your political views are. I don’t care if you support the war we are still fighting, or not. I challenge each and every person who reads this blog to say “thank you” to the many young men and women who are defending our country. Say thank you to their families. Say thank you for their sacrifice.

It is because of them that we are free today!

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