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The Cost of Freedom

 Memorial Day

I once thought I understood the cost of freedom. I’d heard the family stories, my momma named for her uncle shot down over France, I’d been to the parades and ceremonies, could repeat great quotes, I’d seen the movies…

 

But then a few years ago I walked among the names – name after name after name, reaching far, even unto the horizon; 

and the faces of sons and daughters and mothers and fathers – determination in their countenance, fear in their eyes, aged beyond their years. 


One caught me as I walked by, gripped my heart and dragged me up close. He stared at me, wanting me to see, wanting to be known. Though his lips unable to speak it, his lifeless eyes told of the horrors he’d seen, the death he’d lived, the life he’d taken. He was just a boy, once full of life, now, full of death. He begged “Remember me.”  And through tears I vowed I would never forget him. Him without a name, an ordinary face – just one among many… 

And then I stood, in reverential silence as mirror polished shoes paced out 21 honored, solemn, silent steps in guard of the most renown grave. 


Another nameless soldier, this one resting in the stead of the ones unknown. And honor and horror collide and the great awe of it all overtakes me and I am undone…

And it wasn’t yet enough. The surrounding landscape patterned in waves upon waves upon waves of white as far as they eye can see. Row after row. Stone after stone. Life after life…





 

This, this, is the cost of our liberty. And we paid it not.

Oh, in fact I had not known, 

and only now can even begin to understand... 

Let us always, with reverent gratitude for those who laid their lives down and for the great sacrifice of their families, ponder and cherish the great and awful cost of our freedom. 

 


 

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