The saying that freedom is not free is not just a nice sounding cliche. It is a harsh reality that bears witness in blood stained fields across the globe, and in father less homes across the nation. Many other relatives and friends who will never again see their loved ones know all too well that freedom is not free. The bodies laid to rest in the hills of Arlington Cemetary are a poignant reminder of the cost that we pay to preserve freedom.
In this country’s history there have always been people willing to pay that ultimate price in defense of the freedom that we enjoy, and that so many others take for granted. Those who are the guardians of this liberty that we have been blessed by almighty God to experience have done such a marvellous job that many Americans think that this freedom happens in a vacuum. They live their lives completely oblivious to the sacrifices, and the great toll that is required of those who have sworn to defend this freedom.
Some Americans even believe that the defenders of this freedom are the very cause of the all the turmoil and the unrest in the world. They naively think that if America was to disarm, then the rest of the world will follow, and that is all it will take to eliminate war from the face of the earth. They are willingly ignorant of human nature. They turn a blind eye to history, and they disregard the norm of oppression that people suffered at the hands of mornarch and despots for most of human existence.
Many of these Americans who hold their country in such contempt fail to realize that this concept of freedom that they enjoy today is relatively new, and was ushered into the world by America. There is however a group of Americans who understands in the truest sense of the words, that freedom indeed is not free. They stand ready to defend the rights of the naive, the ignorant and the ungrateful. They willingly give their lives in defense of those who call them baby killers, war mongers, barbarians, and war criminals. Those who give their lives in defense of freedom understand what is at stake, and because of this they are not easily deterred by those who complain about America’s so called militarism.
They understand that in a world of imperfect people, no country is perfect. They know that by standing in defense of liberty, they are also giving the nation the opportunity to be better. These valiant Americans have been constants in the nations history, whether it was facing off against the mighty British Army or battling their fellow country men for the cause of freedom, they were always there.
President Ronald Reagan, in a speech honoring the fallen, once paid tribute to one of these noble Americans. The young man’s name was Martin A. Treptow. He gave his life at the young age of 26 in denfense of freedom during the first world war. His attitude exemplified why, in such a short period of time, this country has been able to accomplish so much more than any other nation before it.
When his body was discovered, his diary was on him, and in it was a short prose he called “my pledge.” This is what it said: “America must win this war. Therefore I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.” Mr. Treptow is just an example of why so many Ameicans can freely live their lives in blissful ignorance and ingratitude. It is the reason why the flag burners, the anthem protesters, and America hating citizens can continue to express what is on their hearts without the fear of political repercussions.
As we look around the world, the evidence is everywhere that freedom is indeed not free. As Americans we have the choice to complain about all that is wrong in the country, or be thankful that we live in the freest, most prosperous country that has ever existed on the face of the earth. This does not mean that we have to ignore the areas where we need to improve as a nation. The ability, and the willingness to identify real problems where they do exist, and then put systems in place to address them is part of the legacy of those who gave their lives in defense of this great nation.
Let us honor their sacrifices and be thankful for all of the blessings that we have as Americans.