Freedom isn’t free can have more than one meaning.
The meaning people fixate on is that freedom is paid for with the blood and sweat of our fine servicemen and women, though the reality of that is slightly off. Those who have died in every engagement since WWII have not been fighting forces capable of extinguishing the light of freedom. Neither the Vietnamese nor the Koreans nor the Iraqis were an existential threat to freedom or the American people.
The people who fought there, the people who died there are deserving of our love and respect. End of statement. They are also deserving of the truth. They died for each other, died trying to get home in one fucking piece. Which is just as noble a cause. Not for our freedom though, our freedom was never at stake in these fights. Just saying.
Freedom isn’t free can mean, for the more cynical among us, that Freedom, like all other things in this world, has become a commodity. There to be bought and sold to the man willing to pay the most for it, there to be bought like stocks and bonds.
Sure, freedom is important, but what makes it a commodity? It has been treated like a thing. A thing that can be moved aside like a can of beans on a shelf. The fact is that it has been swept aside by laws meant to protect the government (Patriot act, Fisa), and that people want it back, and that no person in uniform, no matter what they think, can fight and win and bring it back. If we pass laws that affect our freedom, that makes it a thing that can be whittled away, made smaller, easier to manage for those who have other agendas, other things they think are more important; the rich few, to whom borders mean nothing above We the People.
Are those laws meant to protect freedom? Yes and no. Yes in that they are designed to protect Americans from external threats, and No in that they have been implemented in such a manner as to create internal ones, particularly from the government towards the people…
I respect those who have fallen, sacrificed their lives for this country, regardless of all I just said. I salute the flag like they did. I salute the sacrifice like everyone does. What I want is a clearer and more precise picture of the world painted so that we can all see the real world for what it is. I do not want this day meant to honor the fallen, turn into jingoistic nonsense sloganeering by those who want slavish mindless respect given to a government that doesn’t deserve it, and one that long ago gave up on the concept “Of the People, For the People, By the People.” Those words are no longer true.
Freedom is free. Don’t let them lie to you. Death is a price we all pay, one way or another, no one gets out of this life alive.
Freedom is a choice. Not an easy one but no choice worth anything is easy. Freedom is work and responsibility and sweat and strain and a slog, a fight that is never over, fought by people who never rest and never forget to think of others before themselves.
Remember those who have fallen.
Think of the sacrifice.
Never forget what Freedom is.