Freedom — when one looks in the Oxford American Dictionary, one can find several words used in defining the word — freedom. Those words are independence, free use of things, outspokenness and other words. But for me, I see some other words, actually places, with different sounding names, such as Philadelphia, New Orleans, the Alamo, Vicksburg, San Juan Hill, Chateau Thierry, Guadalcanal, Bastogne, Pork Chop Hill, Khe San, Da Nang, Hanoi, Basra, Baghdad and many more places.
Places where American young men and women have gone to serve and where many paid the ultimate price — their lives — in the name of freedom. During the last few years, I, myself, along with 15 to 18 men and women of gray hair and not so much hair have had the honor to stand tall, raise our hands in salute, held our country’s beautiful flag, folded it with tears in our eyes, listen to the volley of gun shot and the sound of the bugle playing “Taps,” then raise our hand in salute as the person with the awesome duty presents the flag to the next of kin.
Yes, my fellow Americans, this is what freedom means to me, and I so much appreciate and respect those who have stepped forward over the last 200 years to serve our country as faithful American servicemen and women. We will be celebrating Armed Forces Day and shortly after that, Memorial Day. When you pay your respects at a graveside of a relative, be sure to say, “Thank you for serving our God and Country in my behalf.”
M/Sgt., USAF (retired)