The High Cost Of Freedom
(January 3, 2010)
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. (12/29/2009 - AFNS) -- The cost
of freedom cannot and should not be measured in mere
dollars, or even in millions or billions of dollars. Today's
large military budgets are spent on equipment, buildings,
airframes, maintenance, personnel and training. These are
the items that are most commonly thought of when people
consider the cost of the freedoms we enjoy. |
These costs are also paid by countries that have large
military forces, but little or no freedom. The true costs of
freedom are not found in a balance sheet or in the pages of
a budget document.
The hidden costs of freedom include the birth of a child,
missed by a deployed father. Also included are the birthdays
and anniversaries missed by a parent or spouse on temporary
duty, and even the simplest things we take for granted, such
as missing a child's first steps, first words, first day of
kindergarten or their last day of high school.
The costs can be high for many military families who support
their active-duty spouses and parents. These professional
warriors often struggle to maintain their ties with their
families while working to ensure that everyone has the
rights and freedoms we all expect.
Sadly, the cost of freedom is sometimes counted by the
number of flag-draped caskets returning from overseas. These
are the men and women for whom the ultimate cost of freedom
was their lives, and the impact on the lives of their
This ultimate cost is one that is not fully measured by the
cold, sterile numbers of casualty reports. It is measured in
the amount of unheard advice, unshared joys, unshared
sorrows and in the hearts of children who only know their
parents through stories and photos.
These hidden costs of freedom began in the War of
Independence. They continued through the War of 1812 and the
The costs were very high during the Civil War when freedom
was extended to some for the first time. The costs then
included brother fighting against brother and friend against
Still the costs rose, through the Spanish-American War, two
world wars, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam and the long Cold
War. The cost continues to build as we fight today's war,
both at home and abroad.
However, with this cost, we have paid for freedom for
ourselves and for others who may have never known freedom.
Even though we have paid a high price for freedom, we are
among the few who have given freedom to others regardless of
the cost we bear.
By Cathy L. Francis|
Editor's note: Cathy L. Francis, spouse of
retired Master Sgt. Mitchell J. Francis, was recently
awarded one of 25 $1,000 scholarships offered through the
Air Force's Club Membership Scholarship Program for this
winning essay. Mrs. Francis is currently attending
Metropolitan Community College where she hopes to earn an
associate degree in medical billing and coding.
Air Force News Service
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