Freedom isn’t Free

Today I am taking a break from writing about writing to say, “Thank you.”

This is Memorial weekend. It’s a weekend when we take stock of what we have as a country and thank the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. My family is not a particularly military family. I lost an Uncle in WWII on the USS Quincy at Savo Straits. I never knew him, of course. My mother’s brother was in D Day and survived. My father worked for Otis Elevator Company. He was an engineer and was instrumental in developing the Aeronautic division at Otis. They also built the lifts for the air craft carriers.

My husband’s father was in WWII, he served in the US and Greenland on sub patrol. My husband’s mother was one of the first WAAC’s.  There is a book there at some point. Although I never met the woman, I’ve heard so many stories over the years that a book is the only way to tell her tale.

My brother served in Viet Nam (as did E. Michael Helms, a blog mate) and my husband. My husband, also an engineer as was my father, stayed in and developed some of the missile systems that keep us safe today. None of these three men escaped the Viet Nam war unscathed. Their wounds are both physical and emotional. Part of the emotional wounds were war service itself, I’m sure. Part of it was the climate in the country when they returned home. My brother and husband both tell tales of being accosted in the streets and called “baby killers.” Pretty tough stuff when you are dealing with the physical aftermath of war. I can’t speak for Mike—well I can, he’s written books about it—but I know the effects on my brother and husband run deep.

Why this personal story? This is, after all, a blog on writing. It’s because we must always remember that the wounds of war go deep. And we must say, “Thank you.” Agree with the war/conflict/action or not. It doesn’t matter. The soldier did not get to choose his war. He is called to serve. For your benefit and for mine.

If you can read this, then the veterans have succeeded. We are living in a free country where we can write and say whatever is in our heart and mind.

Freedom isn’t free. Thank a living veteran. Remember the fallen veterans.

Thank you Mike, and Gary, and Karl, and so many more whose names I do not know.

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6 thoughts on “Freedom isn’t Free

  1. Freedom is never free and yes, the soldiers do not choose their war but they come back with physical wounds, often, and generally with emotional wounds that have a life of their own and cause so much PTSD. The nightmares and misery are the cost of remaining free. The U.S. is often criticized for war but I say despite our imperfect government, who would you like to have hegemony on planet earth? I say a country that has a Constitution that is still respected and has troops who are “first in and last out” then tries to rehab countries who have made war on it is the very one that should continue to have leadership that understands that strength is essential. The treatment of the Vietnam Vets when they returned home is a story of heaping misery upon existing misery and the U.S. was obsessed with body counts in the nightly news and the history of this media lack of understanding about it. What about the problems of the Vietnam Vets? These fought with great valor and in a situation that was never as clear-cut as the World Wars. Nevertheless they gave their lives and in many times their piece of mind to fight for a country that has been described as a “city on a hill” . Look it up, I have not gotten it perfectly. Considering the horde of refugees storming across Europe from countries that have no Constitution, I say think carefully about what you may take for granted. Without the Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force, Special Ops etc. we would be speaking German or Japanese. Celebrate the ones who returned and be glad and help them be glad they returned. Read history. Be literate. Stories about vampires and so forth may be interesting, but when you don’t have to show papers to be safe it is a great thing. Read the classics. Read Remarque and you will see what happens when dictators take over and be glad that the problems we have are not like what you will read in his work. Read “Proud Bastards” by E. Michael Helms and think about whether you could do what he did. Considering this election these ideas are at the forefront. Learn what the candidates say, however revolting they may be and vote with knowledge.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ladies, ladies (I address Kait and MJ specifically): let us remember this is (supposedly) a free society where we–citizens of the USofA–are allowed to speak our minds as we please, without retribution or recompense by governmental officials or waylayers. Just saying!

    First, thank you so very much, Kait, for your reference to my fellow Marines & other services’s brothers & sisters, who gave their lives for such a futile and illicit cause as was the Vietnam War. There–I said it! It took so many years of gut-wrenching denial & confrontation for me to reach this conclusion: all 58,000-plus names (indicating real, live human beings from our USA neighbors’) died for NOTHING more than our corrupt government’s ambitious exploitation: i.e., the US government’s global domination of other countries. The USA is, sad to say, a PREDATORY nation. It really hurts my heart to admit this, but admit this I MUST!

    Our national flag (Old Glory) flew over our nation before and after the so-called American Civil War. That war was NOT a “civil war;” it was one nation declaring their independence from another” because of inability to address concerns of parting ways peacefully. Had the original US Constitution been adhered to and followed, the so-called “Civil War” would never have happened.

    But I digress. The War of Northern Aggression did occur, and our “nation” has been forever tainted because of the outcome. Ignore that personal statement. You can lead a pig to slop, but you can’t make him/her eat.

    Thanks for a wonderful post, Kait. It brings back lots of memories of fallen comrades, but also of why they made the ultimate sacrifice. I’m so grateful you took the time and trouble to remember them!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s about freedom of speech. Which is all about respect. Or it should be. Who said (and I’m paraphrasing here) I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death the right to say it? That’s a philosophy that makes for a great country. Unfortunately, my perspective is that the philosophy is being eroded these days. That’s sad.

      Thank you, Mike!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kait, I must confess that I was having the “blues” and a “few” when I wrote the above comments early this a.m. Still, I stand by them. I agree the philosophy you mentioned is eroding, as are our rights under the Constitution. If I kill a white man, it’s murder. If I kill a black or hispanic or oriental, etc., it’s murder AND a “hate crime.” That’s ludicrous to me. When I was in Vietnam there was no black, white, or hispanic, or what-have-you. We were all ragtag green Marines, and we all bled the same red. Why are there “African Americans,” or “Native Americans,” or “fill-in-the-blank” Americans? Why not simply Americans?
        When I moved to SC twelve years ago, I went to get my SC driver’s license. In the block where it said “Race” I wrote “Human.” You should’ve heard the fit the woman “helping” me threw! She whited it out and handed it back and told me to write “caucasian.” I wrote “human” again and told her I wasn’t from the Caucasus region between Europe and Asia. She blew up again and got her manager. They filled it out for me, under my protest. Was I being a smartass? Maybe, but I still consider “race” as meaning human. As far as I know, I’m not from Mars or some other celestial body.
        I will never fly commercially again because I won’t stand for the TSA idiots groping me. My wife doesn’t let me drive her to the airport anymore because I make unruly comments around the gestapo, er, the TSA agents. Example: “I do not have a BOMB in my shoes!” (Emphasis on “bomb,” of course.)
        I’m getting old and cranky. I don’t take crap from anybody anymore. I’m basically a very decent human being, at least I think so and have been told such by others. I’m just sick of “political correctness” and all the other crapola this nation has become. I don’t like the term “gay” in the sense it’s been used now for decades. “Gay” means “happy, carefree, cheerful, excited, lively.” Look it up in Merriam-Webster. I had a girlfriend named Gay many years ago. How many girls are named “Gay” nowadays? I abhor the highjacking of words, just as I abhor the highjacking of flags and other symbols for use by the selfish few (generally speaking).
        I don’t give a plugged nickel if someone is a homosexual or lesbian. Doesn’t bother me. They can be my good friend if they treat me fairly and decently. I don’t care one damn bit about their sexual choices. It means nothing to me. I know of a couple guys who were friends of mine who were homosexuals. Great guys, really! One, a real popular guy I went through school with. The other, a brother of a good friend. Both are now dead. I don’t know how or what caused their deaths. And no, I’m not being patronizing. Oh, another good friend just came to mind. She wrote a really good book, the first fictional book that Dr. Laura ever featured on her radio show: “The Midwife’s Song: A Story of Moses’ Birth.” It’s still available at Amazon. She was married, broke up, and announced she was a lesbian. She’s now in a relationship. I’ve known her since we were kids. Doesn’t matter to me. I wish her well and we’re still friends but we both now live in different states.
        Okay rant over. I salute all those who died in service to our nation, and those who served, and those who continue to serve. Semper Fidelis.

        Like

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