I value my freedom living in this beautiful country where we can walk the streets and not be afraid to speak our mind. To have the privilege to choose our religion and worship the way we choose. Can you imagine not being able to go to the church of your choice? Or having to watch every word we speak? 

We are a proud people and when the chips are down we stand together. I remember my dad’s words to mom when he joined the Navy during WWII. “Beulah, we need to keep the war from our shores and I hope to do all I can to make sure our country stays free.”

Many men from Knox County were called to active duty during that time. I was only a small child but I had ears to hear what all the adults were saying about the war. Uncle Glenn Hammons division of the National Guard was called to active duty. I remember grandma crying and grandpa holding a stiff upper lip when we said goodbye to him as he loaded on a bus filled with other young men taking them away from their homes and loved ones. 

World news in those days was not around the clock reporting coverage of the war as it is today. The radio or daily newspapers was the only dependable link to news about the war. I’m unsure how my Dad or Uncle Glenn would view this troubled time we live in today if they were alive. 

One thing for sure I feel they would say freedom is not free and we must protect our gates from those that hate Americans and all we stand for. Now is the time for us to reach out in support to those brave men and women that are now guarding our borders and keeping our land safe and our country free. 

Cadet Major Kelly Strong of Air Force Senior High School writes. “Freedom is not Free.” I watched the flag pass by one day, it fluttered in the breeze; a young Marine saluted it, then he stood at ease...I looked at him in uniform, so young, so tall and proud; with hair cut square and eyes alert, he’d stand out in any crowd. 

I thought how many men like him had fallen through the years; how many died on foreign soil, how many mothers’ tears? How many pilots shot down? How many died at sea? How many foxholes were soldier’s graves: no freedom is not free. I heard the sound of taps one night and when everything was still, 

I listened to the bugler play and felt a sudden chill. I wondered just how many times that taps said “Amen” when a flag draped the coffin of a brother or friend. I thought of all the children of friends, mothers’ and wives, of fathers’ husbands and sons with interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard, at the bottom of the sea, of unmarked graves in Arlington: Freedom is not free.

My thought for today: A generation of men and women that fought and died for our freedom seems to be too many a happening in our history books. I cry to see our American flag disrespected and pray for those that march against a way of life our fathers fought for. 

Mildred Higgins

Recommended for you