Freedom is not just another word
Posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014 08:23 AM

During the Vietnam War, our generation was witness to the many horrors that war perpetrates on all the participants, friend and foe alike. We protested, we dodged the draft, we sat back wordless and stunned, we served--with honor--and supported those who served. Sometimes we lived with the ultimate sacrifice of our loved ones, or the loss of limbs and psychological wholeness, as the price of maintaining our freedoms.

The one thing we did not do was fail to recognize that our ongoing freedoms depended on how we responded: to peace, to conflict, to human atrocities, nay, to war itself. So much went unspoken despite the public outcry; so many questions went unanswered: How did we allow ourselves to get to that place, a place where we sacrificed our young men and women, as spoils of a war that no one wanted nor believed was for a just cause.

We certainly did not fight for our own freedoms here at home, in defense of our own lands and peoples. What made us think--and continues to make us think--that we have the right and responsibility to invade other sovereign countries, to defend their freedoms at the cost of our own children's lives?

This is not isolationism, this is reasoned sanity. Something for which our politicians are in short supply.

I do not write these words to revisit the sadness and regret of those times or these times; I only want to call attention to those friends and family members of our own who did pay the ultimate price or who bear the scars of war, both physical and psychological. The young men and women who serve in our military forces deserve much more that we presently give them: our attention, our resources, yes, even our wealth, in the form of high compensation for putting themselves in harm's way for our personal and private benefits and for our unalienable freedoms.

Much like teachers, who are vastly underpaid for what they do (think of where you would be if it were not for your teachers!), our military members and their families deserve the absolute best that we can offer. For what they do to defend our freedoms cannot ever be justly--and sufficiently--rewarded.

That recognition can only be accomplished by letting our leaders know what we want them to do about it. We can no longer sit back and let the politicians do as they please in Congress; nor can we let the President--who literally can move mountains--continue to send our young people into battle in places where we have no business being.

If we want to keep our freedoms safe, then keep those who protect those freedoms safe. Fight for our freedoms here at home. As the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Are you willing to pick up your sword and defend your freedoms?

Frank Walters (Clark)