THE COST OF FREEDOM......IT ISN’T FREE.......... A series of commentaries dedicated to the men and women who stand in the gap to protect our freedoms. Military Missions Inc. proudly supports and encourages each individual that wears, or has worn, the uniform of the United States Armed Forces, and their family members who make sacrifices that often go unnoticed.
PART TWO: FREEDOM-DO WE REALLY UNDERSTAND IT?
What does freedom really mean to the average American citizen? Most of us have never left this country. If we have traveled outside our borders, we’ve gone to exotic vacation spots or visited historic landmarks we’ve learned about in our world history classes. Most of us have not visited a nation filled with poverty or a war torn country. Our only exposure to the reality of war, poverty, communism, and slavery is through the media. Even then, we only get a glimpse, often distorted, and we usually just change the channel when it’s too hard to watch.
We all know we live in the most powerful nation on the planet. The United States of America is the best of the best! Most of us always have food on the table and live in safe neighborhoods. Most of us can go out and buy more than we will ever need and if we can’t afford it, we just charge it to our credit cards. We’ve forgotten what it means to work hard to earn the money needed for something and we certainly don’t appreciate what we’ve got. There is always something better, bigger, newer, and faster that we just HAVE to have NOW!
It’s by the grace of God that I was born an American. I believe it is the same for the rest of you. Many of us complain because our soldiers are dying in a country half way across the globe. We are angry that the search for those weapons of mass destruction didn’t turn out like we planned. We keep ourselves busy pointing fingers of blame at one another, dividing our country into so many fragments that the name “United” States hardly seems appropriate anymore. As a general population, we could care less about the lives of those in other countries. Many would say that we have no business trying to help foreign nations with their problems. We just need to take care of our own. Perhaps......but I think there’s a lot more to it.
Imagine yourself as a young child living in a war torn country. Better yet, picture yourself living on your own street as the backdrop for the war zone. Imagine being afraid to walk out the door because you might be shot. Imagine worrying about driving over an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) every time you go to the shopping mall or drive your kids to soccer practice. Imagine dropping your kids off at school and wondering if today will be the day that the suicide bomber runs into the building and takes the lives of innocent children. What if the insurgents targeted your favorite marketplace? Most of us don’t expect shopping in the grocery store will be our final life experience. Who can live with all of that stress? I know I can’t do it.
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We had absolutely nothing to do with where we were born or into who’s family we landed. We just ended up here, in the good old USA on the good side of the tracks where the grass is always greener. We didn’t earn this right and we certainly didn’t get a chance to make the USA our birthplace of choice. We just happened to be blessed....and here is the part with which I have a problem. Most of us seem to think we deserve all of this...just because! We think that poverty and war are for other people. We don’t consider the cost others have paid to assure us of our freedoms.
Envision the baby born in a war torn country. Like us, the child had nothing to do with where he was born either....but he ended up on the other side of the world, where he will surely grow up with war all around him. By the time he can walk and talk the seeds are already being planted to hate and to kill. He may one day be proud to set off a suicide bomb and kill his own people because that is his reality and that is what he has been taught. He was born into this world just like you and I, but he ended up on the other side of the tracks where the grass is never going to be greener. It could have been you! It could have been me!
Answer this question? Are we obligated to help these people or do we have the right to mind our own business? Now, picture yourself living in the war torn country. Would you answer that question in the same way?
Another idea for us to consider is this: What if we wake up one day to find the violence has shown up on our front door steps because we were too busy minding our own business, assured of our safety, our freedoms, and our strong nation’s ability to take care of itself?
For just a few minutes, take some time to really think about your freedoms. I’m pretty sure that all of us are enjoying the liberties we have as American citizens. Are you, by any chance, doing anything to make sure that we can pass these freedoms down to the generations that follow or are you sitting in judgment of those that ARE protecting our freedom?
Since the day this nation began, there has always been someone willing to lay down his life for all of us. We live in freedom today because of all those that came before us; those who have put our lives before their own. Thousands upon thousands have given their time, their talents, and in some cases, their lives to stand in the gap for all of us. When these men and women volunteer to serve, they are volunteering to protect freedom at all costs. It’s not about where the conflict takes place or what started the conflict in the first place. It’s about a determination to keep America safe and free no matter what!
Instead of protesting and pointing fingers of blame at everyone, let’s all just take a moment to be thankful for the free nation in which we live and let’s take even more time to be thankful for all of those men and women that have chosen to step up to serve on our behalf. The next time you see a war story on the news, be thankful it’s not happening in your backyard.......and remember those that are willing to keep it that way.
Coming up: PART THREE: PTSD AND TBI~THE SIGNATURE WOUNDS OF THIS WAR ON TERROR