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 Veterans Day  flag

Steven P. Wickstrom

This Veterans Day our thoughts will more than likely center on the troops who are in Afghanistan and Iraq. We may wonder what they are doing over there and what their purpose is. In case you are not sure, this is what they are doing. They are doing the same thing that our troops did in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and in Vietnam. They are fighting and dying to secure the freedom of other people in other lands. It is interesting to note that many people who do not know or have forgotten what is to be free, often do not appreciate freedom. They often do not appreciate those who are fighting for their freedom. The reverse can also true; people who lived their whole lives in freedom can take it for granted and not appreciate that freedom. They also do not appreciate it when our troops fight for the freedom of other people.

When we take freedom for granted, we tend to forget what that freedom cost. We forget that freedom is not free. It always comes at a high price; and that price is almost always the blood of the men and women who are willing to fight for freedom. It is a high price to pay, but the men and women of our armed forces are willing to pay the price. On Veterans Day, we honor those who paid the price of freedom with their lives. We honor those men and women who came home in a flag draped wooden box. We honor those men and women who were buried at sea. They deserve our honor, and they deserve our remembrance.

On Veterans Day however, we need to remember that it is not just the veterans who pay the price. They leave behind families; wives, husbands, children, girlfriends and boyfriends, friends and relatives. We tend to forget that our troops say goodbye to their loved ones as they head out to fight for freedom in foreign lands. Veterans Day is also about those loved ones who are left behind, watching as the aircraft leaves the runway and as the ships leave the docks. They wipe tears from their eyes as they wonder if they will ever see their loved ones alive again. It is also about those who wash the gravestone of their fallen spouse with their tears. It is also about those children who don't understand why their daddy or mommy isn't ever going to come home again.

On this Veterans Day as we remember our hero's who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty, we also remember their loved ones who sacrificed a large portion of their hearts and their lives. Do not forget the family members who grieve over the loss of their loved ones who paid the ultimate price. The price of freedom is high, but it is worth every drop of blood it takes to secure and maintain it. Always remember that freedom is worth the cost.

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© 2005 by Steven P. Wickstrom All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the author.