Culture

Freedom Is Not Free

Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Lilly
Graves Decorated With Flags
Graves Decorated With Flags
Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2008.

| Photo: James Faddis | Wounded, Veterans, Army, Afghanistan, Memorial,

Somebody Has To Be Ready To Fight To Keep Us Free

When watching TV, reading newspapers or listening to radio talk shows, it becomes obvious there is an over-abundance of opinionated people out there. Some are more outspoken than others, some expand different amounts of energy and make different efforts to make their point. All (or most) of these opinionated people are good law abiding citizens. ALL help make up our diversified national fabric. And ALL are Americans!

What a boring place this country would be if we all had the same likes, hates, tastes, views of others, views of ourselves and endless thoughts that cross our minds. This is what makes our country so great. We can say what we want, when we want to say it. Of course there will always be those who go too far. Some of the fun and challenge is to change their minds – especially when their challenge is to change our minds. But again, we are ALL Americans!

How many of us consider it a blessing, much less an honor to be an American citizen and be able to live in the United States? Have you ever taken the time to think about the reasons why the United States is without question the number one destination in the history of Planet Earth? America is not perfect, yet so many people are still willing to risk everything to become Americans. What are the reasons? And what does it take to keep it that way?

What are the reasons so many of us are true-to-the-heart Americans who bleed the same red, white and blue with passion? And what are the reasons we pride ourselves for being Leaders of the Free World?

Freedom is everything. Freedom is beautiful. Freedom is priceless. Depending what you believe, freedom is a God given right or if you're an atheist, freedom lets you believe or not believe. Either way, freedom is yours to celebrate, savor, rejoice and cherish.

But what if you didn't have freedom? The freedom of being able to say what you want.

The freedom to go wherever and whenever you want to go. The freedom to write, publish and distribute whatever you want. What would you do if you didn't have these rights? Would you fight for these freedoms? If so, how would you fight? With speeches? By writing letters? By traveling a great distance to make your point?

What if we couldn't write opinion letters disagreeing with what someone else wrote? Or weren't able to tell our leaders to find other work or retire? And what would you do if someone attempted to take your freedoms away? How far would you go to get or keep your freedoms? The most important questions will always be the same: How did we get these freedoms in the first place AND what guarantees us the right to keep our freedoms?

Maybe some (or too many) of us have been taking our freedoms for granted. It seems more and more people think of Memorial Day as an extended weekend and July 4th as a time to take a vacation. And is it worth fighting traffic, crowds and inconvenience to find a good place to watch fireworks?

Was this past Memorial Day in your heart? How much time do you think about the proud Veterans moving throughout life without an arm or leg? Or worse? Do you actually put yourself in the position to feel the pain of a saddened widow or widower whose significant other will never again walk through the front door of their home? The same significant other who paid the ultimate price so we can keep our freedoms? Have you taken the time to shake the hands of children that may have grown up never to have met or remember their parents? How many of us make an effort to suddenly stop right in our tracks to thank a Veteran for their courage and sacrifice?

The men and women of our Armed Forces are the reasons we get to say what we want.

The men and women of our Armed Forces are the reasons we can go wherever and whenever we want.

The men and women of our Armed Forces are the reasons so many others want to become Americans.

The men and women of our Armed Forces are the reasons ALL of us should be thinking of them while we are driving to the beach, watching fireworks and most of all, when we're with our loved ones.

Please always remember, the men and women of our Armed Forces paid immensely more for our freedom than we did. And we can never thank them enough.

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Updated Sep 17, 2018 4:04 AM EDT | More details

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