Written May 28, 2017
“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.” ~ John F Kennedy, former US president
We hear all the time about “The Cost of Freedom”. What is meant by that statement and how much does it cost? First let’s look at the definition of Freedom.
According to vocabulary.com, Freedom is the condition of being free. The power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints. There are different types of freedom. Today, this Memorial Day, I reflect on how our military men and women pay for that cost. The price they pay for you and I to maintain the Freedom that we enjoy today. My hope is that as you read you reflect on 3 types of Freedom and how our brave men and women keep us Free.
- independence – freedom from control or influence of others
- liberty – freedom of choice or personal freedom from servitude or confinement or oppression
- civil liberty – one’s freedom to exercise one’s rights as guaranteed under the laws of the country.
You may remember from your history class that this country was founded for one main reason. Freedom of Speech and Religion. The pilgrims came here to be free from the oppressive control of the leaders in their home country. Along the way, their Freedom was challenged by other countries like Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan. They came(or tried to come) here to assert themselves and rule over the citizens and their land. A little over 100yrs after coming to America, the pilgrims fought their first battle to maintain their sovereignty from the countries that sought to rule over them. This is when they first learned how much Freedom cost.
This cost of Freedom wasn’t paid for with money, gold or jewels. It was paid for first with pain, sweat and tears as the people built houses, businesses, churches, villages, towns and so on. During the first years in America, everyone freely agreed to follow a set of rules of behavior, in exchange for a certain set of rights.
Then America’s citizens learned that maintaining their Freedom came at a higher cost. The cost for this Freedom? Bloodshed. Human life. Husbands, fathers, brothers and sons went off to war and fight for the Freedoms I previously mentioned. These men went to war not knowing if they would return home to their loved ones and friends. Death was almost certain.
So why would someone go to war not knowing if they would return home again? Quite simply because this fledgling country and its citizens wanted to keep their land and Freedom. They created this Freedom and land based on set of principles, values and morals that they learned from their Higher Power. They lived their lives based on lessons learned in the Bible. One such lesson is from the Bible in John 15:13 which says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends”. Since these men loved their families, friends, their new home and way of life, they laid down their lives to preserve it all.
As the millennia have passed, America’s first soldiers became organized. The first branch of the military to become organized was the Army. First known as the Continental Army, it was created on June 14, 1775. Next, came the United States Navy which was established on October 13, 1775. The United States Marine Corps was created shortly after that on November 10, 1775. The Coast Guard’s official history began on August 4, 1790. Finally the United States Air Force was officially established on September 18, 1947, but their inception began long before this date. Their story begins in August of 1907, just after the Wright Brother’s initial flight(from Wikipedia and other sites).
Today wives, mothers, sisters and daughters have joined the ranks. Over the millennia, these brave souls have continued to lay their lives down so you and I can continue to enjoy the rights and Freedoms that we’ve enjoy today. Their commitment and selfless service crosses political party lines. Whether they are republican, democratic, conservative, libertarian, etc they stand shoulder to shoulder ready to defend you and I – no matter what political party, race or creed we identify with.
One topic that is rarely talked about in general conversation or in the family is what our soldiers see when they are on the battlefield. They don’t discuss what they see. They see carnage and the worst of humanity. They see things that would make even the strongest person run to a “safe space” and curl up in a ball. I heard just a couple of stories when I was part of a military family. This along with gratitude for our – yours and mine – Freedom.
From our first battle for Freedom, our flag was born. While refreshing my history lessons and dates, I came upon an essay called, “I Am The Flag” written by Ruth Apperson Rous. I couldn’t find the date she wrote it, however, her words are true no matter if she wrote it in 1777, 1877, 1977, or 2017. One can’t help but feel a sense of patriotism and love for our service men and women while reading, ”I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.” then brings it towards a close with, “I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.” The essay in its entirety is at the end of this post.
As you go out and celebrate the first official day of picnicking season, please remember the true meaning of the day. No matter what your political views are or who you voted for president, I ask that you stop everything you are doing. Take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices our servicemen and women have made. A day that is set aside to remember all of our fallen service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for you and I. Also The POA’s (Prisoner of War), the MIA’S(Missing In Action), the disabled and the retired. If you see or know one of these brave men or women, thank them for their service.
To all of our service members past, present, wounded, retired, and deceased, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping me, my family and friends safe these last 240 years. As I salute all of you, I say Hooah(Army), Oorah(Marines), Hooyah(Navy SEALs), Aye, Aye(Navy), and Huah(Air Force)
Thought for the day: Even if you’re opposed to war, it is a fact of life. You can be against the war but please don’t disparage our soldiers or the flag. Both deserve honor and respect for keeping you and I free.
( #proudamerican )
“I am the Flag”
by Ruth Apperson Rous
I am the flag of the United States of America.
I was born on June 14, 1777, in Philadelphia.
There the Continental Congress adopted my stars and stripes as the national flag.
My thirteen stripes alternating red and white, with a union of thirteen white stars in a field of blue, represented a new constellation, a new nation dedicated to the personal and religious liberty of mankind.
Today fifty stars signal from my union, one for each of the fifty sovereign states in the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known.
My colors symbolize the patriotic ideals and spiritual qualities of the citizens of my country.
My red stripes proclaim the fearless courage and integrity of American men and boys and the self-sacrifice and devotion of American mothers and daughters.
My white stripes stand for liberty and equality for all.
My blue is the blue of heaven, loyalty, and faith.
I represent these eternal principles: liberty, justice, and humanity.
I embody American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press, and the sanctity of the home.
I typify that indomitable spirit of determination brought to my land by Christopher Columbus and by all my forefathers – the Pilgrims, Puritans, settlers at James town and Plymouth.
I am as old as my nation.
I am a living symbol of my nation’s law: the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.
I voice Abraham Lincoln’s philosophy: “A government of the people, by the people,for the people.”
I stand guard over my nation’s schools, the seedbed of good citizenship and true patriotism.
I am displayed in every schoolroom throughout my nation; every schoolyard has a flag pole for my display.
Daily thousands upon thousands of boys and girls pledge their allegiance to me and my country.
I have my own law—Public Law 829, “The Flag Code” – which definitely states my correct use and display for all occasions and situations.
I have my special day, Flag Day. June 14 is set aside to honor my birth.
Americans, I am the sacred emblem of your country. I symbolize your birthright, your heritage of liberty purchased with blood and sorrow.
I am your title deed of freedom, which is yours to enjoy and hold in trust for posterity.
If you fail to keep this sacred trust inviolate, if I am nullified and destroyed, you and your children will become slaves to dictators and despots.
Eternal vigilance is your price of freedom.
As you see me silhouetted against the peaceful skies of my country, remind yourself that I am the flag of your country, that I stand for what you are – no more, no less.
Guard me well, lest your freedom perish from the earth.
Dedicate your lives to those principles for which I stand: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
I was created in freedom. I made my first appearance in a battle for human liberty.
God grant that I may spend eternity in my “land of the free and the home of the brave” and that I shall ever be known as “Old Glory,” the flag of the United States of America.
( #proudamerican )
***Please be sure to read more of my posts