Sunday, May 30, 2010

An Early Memorial Day Thought

Since tomorrow is Memorial Day and I'll likely be too busy to post anything here, I'm going to do it a day early. 

I read the book Flags of Our Father some time ago, and that book really changed how I thought about World War 2. The utter hell that millions and millions of men and women willingly went through to preserve the freedoms enjoyed by America and many other great nations is something I can't really grasp. I then went to Europe for 3 weeks and basically did a WWII tour with my uncle, an historian. We walked along Point du Hoc, where hundreds of artillery craters still stand and barbed wire still lines the tops of the cliffs. We walked along Omaha beach where 65 years earlier our soldiers were being riddled with Nazi bullets. I walked in foxholes dug by Easy Company in the forests around Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge and saw buildings still covered in bullet holes. We visited countless cemeteries and museums and historical battle sites and monuments. 

It was really an eye-opening experience for me and a trip that I'd encourage every American to make at least once. 3.5 million people since 1776 have died on our Armed Forces in order to preserve the freedoms that we hold so dear, take for granted and sometimes don't even realize how much of a privilege they are to have.

I'm sure everyone has heard this before, but freedom truly isn't free. I could post countless quotes by many people way smarter than me on the subject, but I'll keep it simple. Freedom is not free. Period. There will always be those who want and hate freedom and want nothing more than to take it away from others, and it is in defense of that freedom that 3.5 million people have died.

 There are just wars. There are necessary wars. There are times when it is necessary to kill. That's just how it is. That's how it will always be. Regardless of the opinions of countless anti-war groups, people, etc, that's how it is. To quote a member of Easy Company, Herb Suerth Jr.:

"It does no good to wish that other countries would simply lay down their arms and be nice to us. It ain't going to happen. Unless you stand up and be counted for what you believe in, you will lose all the freedoms that are important to you. Freedom isn't, and never will be, free."

3.5 million people have died to ensure that everyone who came after them would not have to. Freedom is not free, and to all those serving in the Armed Forces, and to all the veterans who given so much to keep us free, thank you. Thank you. 

1 comment:

  1. As a mom who's oldest son is now serving in Iraq, I truly value my freedom. I understand, to a small degree, the price he is paying, and the price his wife and children are paying.

    Freedom is not free. And those of us reaping the benefits of those 3.5 million people need to be grateful. Very grateful.