The cost of freedom

Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

By Sarah Sattelberg

Many have laid down their lives in pursuit of it. American history is full of battles waged to maintain or gain it. Across the world people stand up to governments who have ripped it from their grasps. This thing is called freedom.

Some people living in America, where personal choice is everywhere, forget that something as simple as clothing preference is a privilege.

Recently someone told me freedom is free. He felt it existed like air. All I could think was did you never learn history in school?

Many individuals believe that people are inherently decent. This is an ignorant notion. Humanity has never had an absence of malevolent individuals. Good and evil have and will always be at battle.

By Garrett Pekar

By Garrett Pekar

Freedom has a hefty price that brave men and women pay every day.

Corp. Nathaniel Aguirre a 21-year-old combat medic was a month out from completing a yearlong tour in Iraq. While on a mission, his security detachment encountered sniper fire. A fellow soldier was wounded. Aguirre rushed to his side to give medical aid.

In the process he was shot and bled out on that foreign soil while his brothers in arms desperately tried to save him.

His funeral was filled with weeping aunts, uncles and grandparents. A tough first sergeant broke down sobbing with one look at the soldier he had trained and befriended lying lifeless in a coffin. Tears dripped from his mother’s eyes onto his cold grey face while she whispered her goodbyes before he was lowered into the ground. Every tear represented not only his
sacrifice but the sacrifice of everyone who loved him as well.

Many soldiers make it back from war but face the loss of body parts, eye sight or brain damage from explosives.

Recently a double amputee blind Marine re-enlisted. A lieutenant colonel in first Cavalry lost both of his legs this past summer and had been shot the tour before in Iraq.

He doesn’t let the tragedy slow him down. He pushes toward recovery, so he can get back in the fight.

These men have the heroes’ hearts that are necessary to keep liberty alive.

There is no refund for lost lives or limbs or permanent disfigurement. Some of these brave human beings look at their burned faces and stumps not with regret but pride in what their injuries stand for. They know what is at stake should the bad guys win.

History is filled with valiant heroes who looked certain death in the face so that future generations would not be enslaved to tyrants. We are privileged to be Americans. We all have been given a gift paid for in blood. Never take for granted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Many in our world have no idea what it would be like to have choices.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best. “We, and all others who believe in freedom as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees”.

Freedom is not free. Never forget what has been lost for it.

Author: The Bells Staff

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