The Central Virginian

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Freedom comes with a high price

Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:37 am

Have you thanked a veteran lately?  You’ve probably thanked others in your life recently for a phone call you received, an errand run on your behalf, or some other act of kindness. But, have you ever really thought about what America’s veterans have done for you?

I watch a considerable amount of programing on the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) and they include many documentaries on our nation’s past military involvement whether it was on home soil or abroad. These programs shed understanding of military strategy,  development of leaders and acts of heroism.  One show in particular gave a glimpse of the everyday life of the soldier–what was on his mind, his fears, hopes and desires to simply get back home to see loved ones. It gives a person such as myself who has never served in the military, a sense of what it was, or is to serve.

I’m thoroughly entertained to hear my father tell of his enlistment days.  He served in the Army following the Korean conflict and prior to Vietnam, and served as a secretary to high ranking officers. He got the position because he could type. Often, he will reminisce of this one man who could really bake on the kitchen staff. My mother always adds, that’s when my father gained weight while in the service.

My two grandfathers also served, one in the Army during World War I and the other in the Navy during World War II. A very close uncle served in the Marines during Vietnam.  I have even traced my family tree and found a grandfather who served in the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

All of this is to say I’m proud of my family’s military history and what it has meant for all U.S. citizens. Their service, as well as the service of others, has meant that I have the peace of mind living in a country where I can enjoy the freedom of doing just about anything I please–as long as it’s within the law. I don’t have to worry about being wakened in the middle of the night and arrested for some crime I know nothing about or persecuted for political or religious beliefs.

I’m not indebted to my government, It works for me. I have the right to make a life for myself and pursue my happiness.

But all this comes with a price–a price I personally did not pay.  All those service men and women who have fought for American freedoms have paid that price. They paid with their time away from family and loved ones, they have suffered from acts of violence they can’t forget, still others have sacrificed life and limb.

We have two important organizations in Louisa County that cater to the needs of veterans–Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. Both groups are in fear that they may have to close their doors because of declining memberships.  There are many things these groups do for our veterans and their families but they need membership and support from the community to continue.

This Veteran’s Day, consider attending the service being led by the American Legion on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Louisa Arts Center at 11 a.m. While you are there, shake as many veterans’ hands as possible and tell them you appreciate them. If you are able, give generously to one of the many fundraising projects these groups hold like the Poppies Drive.

I believe anytime is an appropriate time to thank our veterans for their service to us–America.

Thank you to all the veterans who have served in the United States armed forces. I salute you for paying the price for the freedoms we all enjoy.