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From the Publisher's Desk – Freedom comes with great expense (Nov. 11, 2015 issue)

Can you put a cost on freedom? The cost is too great. It’s something we often take for granted. I am sure if you are one of the many veterans, you appreciate it more because you know what it is like to fight for it.
Freedom is something most of us have always known. In fact, we are so used to “our rights” that we can often get offended if someone tries to tell us what to do or not do. We have rights to vote, rights to religion, rights to opinion, rights to come and go as we please and basically anything else we want within the law.
We sometimes get disconnected from the fact that many around the world don’t have the same freedoms we do. Many outside of the US are still hindered from open religion practices, have no rights to vote and are basically under the mercy and dictatorship of the government.
Wednesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. Let’s all pause and remember all those who have fought for the freedoms we have. If you know a living veteran, make effort to show him or her appreciation. Many have given their lives for what we continue to enjoy.
Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.
In 1954, President Eisenhower officially changed the name of the holiday from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Other facts are:
• 9.2 million veterans are over the age of 65;
• 1.9 million veterans are under the age of 35;
• 1.8 million veterans are women;
• 7.8 million veterans served during the Vietnam War era (1964-1975), which represents 33 percent of all living veterans;
• 5.2 million veterans served during the Gulf War;
• 2.6 million veterans served during World War II (1941-1945);
• 2.8 million veterans served during the Korean War (1950-1953);
• 6 million veterans served in peacetime.
I tried to find some information on how many lives this freedom has cost. The closest I could find started with the War of 1812 and ended with a count in 2013. It showed that slightly over one million lives have been lost and nearly one and a half million lives injured in that time frame. Before that, there were other battles and other losses to gain what we know as freedom. That is not even including the families that have been torn apart from the side affects of war.
Whether fighting for what you believe or fighting for power, it seems battles and show of strength have always been the traditional solution.
There have been many young people who barely knew the freedom of voting that were called to fight for a greater freedom for all. Sent into battle as one, they are helpless, but as a unit they are a solid force to reckon with. It saddens me to see their youth stripped away and it is even more hurtful that they are put into conditions that often cost them their lives.
Sometimes I worry that the government sees our troops as a dispensable playing tool. Often they are fighting the war for the leaders of our countries who can’t settle a particular situation. The choice of war is for the good all but at the price of many. I often think if the leaders had to actually be in combat with each other and risking their lives, solutions would be found much quicker and comprises would be reached before blood shed.
I am proud that I am an American and that we have men and women dedicated to our security and freedom. The training is intense and the level of strategics is beyond any of those of our enemies.
We get so caught up in our day to day lives, relying upon the safety we take for granted. With the news coverage we expect and receive in today’s world, we are brought instant front line videos of outbreaks all around the world. We realize the turmoil that is just beyond our doors.
I am proud of our local veterans and of our leaders responsible for the Veterans Memorial Park. What an amazing tribute to recognize and document the many local heroes who have given so much. That is a lasting tribute for future generations of the thanks we owe to our local heroes.