Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Value Freedom

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that freedom comes with a price, which means freedom has a value and is not free.  Since we observed Memorial Day this week, it seems only fitting that I should write something on this subject to help us remember the cost of freedom.  It is fitting that we honor those who gave their lives for us.

                A photo of Iraq war veteran Sgt.Eric Hille standing over the grave of a fallen soldier has been seen by millions of people and touched many hearts.  National Guard Sgt. Eric Hille and his friend Sgt. Eric Holke were on a mission together in Iraq in 2007.  An improvised explosive device exploded and killed Sgt. Holke.  Six years later on Memorial Day 2013, Hille started a new tradition – marching to the grave of a fallen soldier.  This year he chose to march thirteen miles in full combat gear to the grave of his dear friend at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.  It was no “walk in the park” and was difficult both emotionally and physically.  He said that twenty people have “signed up to march” with him next year for Memorial Day.  Hille stated, “We have to do our best to continue to remember the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice for what we have the privilege of doing in this country.”  Do you think Eric Hille know the value of freedom?  I do.

                Kelly Strong watched his father serve a career as a marine and knew of the sacrifices made by his family as his father served two tours in Vietnam.  While a senior and a JROTC cadet at Homestead High School in Homestead, Florida, in 1981, Kelly wrote the following poem as a tribute to his father.  Kelly is now married with three children of his own; he is an active duty pilot with the Coast Guard and is stationed in Mobile, Alabama.  The words of the poem along with beautiful music and powerful images can be found here.  The poem makes it obvious that Kelly Strong knows the price of freedom.

                    FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

                I watched the flag pass by one day,
                It fluttered in the breeze;
                A young Marine saluted it,
                And then he stood at ease.

                I looked at him in uniform,
                So young, so tall, so proud;
                With hair cut square and eyes alert,
                He’s 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’ planes shot down?
                How many died at sea?
                How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
                No, Freedom is not Free.

                I heard the sound of Taps one night,
                When everything was still;
                I listened to the bugler play,
                And felt a sudden chill;

                I wondered just how many times
                That Taps had meant “Amen”
                When a flag had draped a coffin
                Of a brother or a friend;

                I thought of all the children,
                Of the mothers and the wives,
                Of fathers, sons and husbands
                With interrupted lives.

                I thought about a graveyard
                At the bottom of the sea,
                Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
                No.  Freedom is not Free!

                Patrick Henry understood the value of freedom when he made a speech to the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775. 
“On that day, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, he is credited with having swung the balance in convincing the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War.  Among the delegates to the convention were future U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.”
   He was very forceful in stating how he felt about liberty.  “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”  A video of his speech can be found here.      

President Ronald Reagan  recognized the value of freedom when he said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Newsman Walter Cronkite knew the value of freedom when he said,  “There is no such thing as a little freedom.  Either you are all free, or you are not free.”

Americans are protected by the best military forces in the world and in all history.  There is none better.  We have been blessed with freedom for so many years that many of us do not value freedom.  This is why we are losing freedoms on a regular basis.  Glenn Beck claims that “We’re giving our freedoms away.  The American experiment was about freedom.  Freedom to be stupid, freedom to fail, freedom to succeed.”

How are we giving away our freedoms?  We are trading our freedom for security.  I remember a day when I could get on an airplane or walk into a federal building without having to show identification, undress and be x-rayed to determine if I were a terrorist.  We let the terrorist attacks  frighten us so badly after 9/11 that we gave away freedoms in order to gain security.  Did we make a good trade?  I do not think so!

Americans lost more freedom when the majority of voters re-elected Barack Obama as President of the United States.  We had the opportunity to elect Mitt Romney, a good and honest man with great leadership skills, but the majority of Americans chose a man that lies and does his best to destroy freedom.  He is more supportive of our enemies that he is our allies!  We know that our government will have all of our health information under Obamacare just as it has all of our financial information from the income tax laws.  They will know everything about us before long.  Why would anyone want the government to have all that information about them?

There are too many low-information voters in our nation.  It was low-information voters that put Obama in the White House for his first term.  Some of them wised up during those four years because fewer people voted for him the second time around; however, there were still enough people who were willing to give up more freedom in order to get free stuff - food stamps, Obama phones, etc.  In order for us to remain free, we have to educate the low-information voters and help them become more self-reliant!

                President John Adams said, “Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.”

                President Franklin D. Roosevelt said “The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government.”

                The big problem, as I see it, is that low-information voters do not particularly want to become educated because they do not value freedom.  They do not want to be responsible for taking care of themselves and are willing to give up freedom in order if the government will take care of them from cradle to grave.  Sigmund Freud said, “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”

                President Ronald Reagan explained it best when he said, “I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited.  There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics:  As government expands, liberty contracts.”

                President Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying, “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”

                Judge Andrew Napolitano said, “In the long history of the world, very few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its maximum hour of danger.  This is that moment and you are that generation!  Now is the time to defend our freedoms.”

                All Americans must understand that freedom is not free.  The freedom we enjoy today cost the blood of hundreds of thousands of men and women over the past 236 years.  Freedom will continue to cost blood to preserve it and protect, but it will take less blood to stay free than it will cost to regain freedom once it is lost.  Will you join me in an attempt to preserve freedom by becoming better informed about the U.S. Constitution and how our government is supposed to work?  Will you join me in becoming active in electing good men and women who will preserve the Constitution and protect our freedoms?  Will you join me in becoming well informed citizens?  Will you learn the true value of freedom?

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