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9/11: Soldiers of Freedom and Liberty

As the “rear guard” of the aging baby boomer generation marching on to their sunset years I pause for a few moments to reflect on the anniversary of 9/11, and recall some major historical occurrences during the course of our lifetime that will forever be a part of this country’s legacy. Events that catalyzed the flow of Freedom and Liberty that was birthed with the Declaration of Independence in, what John Adams once called, “This Great American Experiment.” Most of us remember where we were and what we were doing when the bells of tragedy or triumph rang out the news.

On November 22, 1963 former Naval officer and our country’s President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was assassinated. The earth shuddering news reports dominated the media. A nation stood still in shock and disbelief in front of the television trying to grasp the reality that the Commander in Chief of the United States of America was shot down in the line of duty. Freedom and Liberty bowed their heads with heavy sighs at the chipping away of an open society that was tightening up, and putting up borders against trust and faith in mankind.
On July 21, 1969: a nation stood still once again in “shock and awe” as the first human footprint was placed on the moon by Navy pilot and astronaut, Neil Alden Armstrong. Television news

media again was delivering the astonishing live images of “one small step for man, a giant leap for mankind” that catapulted the US in first place across the Space Race finish line. Freedom and Liberty stood proud and heads held high when the Soviet Union conceded this contest to a greater power; this nation under God, with liberty and justice for all. Years later the “red giant” would eventually collapse and fall from global influence.
September 11, 2001; once more our nation stood still. Its citizens paralyzed with fear, shock, and disbelief that terrorist attacks had struck and succeeded on our sovereign soil. The World Trade Center was no more. The trust, faith, and openness of our country’s society took another major blow when it was hijacked by an enemy that despises the tenants of independence. We will never forget those who lost their lives, and those who gave up their own lives to help others survive. Freedom and Liberty looked up to the heavens as a nation prayed, and their sacrifices will never be in vain.
March 20, 2003: US forces descended on Iraq to depose the terrorist and totalitarian regime of Sadam Hussein. The world watched and waited to see if this event could revolutionize and lift away the years of repression that held this region captive. On April 9th Bagdad fell, effectively ending a 24 year oppressive and tormenting dictatorship over the suffering Iraqi citizenry. On December 13th, Operation Red Dawn, led by the US Army’s 4th Infantry Division, captured Sadam Hussein. The face of a ruthless tyrant was quickly flashed throughout the media around the globe. Freedom and Liberty joined hands to celebrate this symbolic emancipation of a controlled society, and the beginning of a new journey of hope for the people of this ancient and historical land.A great price was paid for Freedom and Liberty to spread its wings anew in a ragged far away place, and where tyranny and despotism is the accepted human condition. We honor and hold sacred our nation’s hard won free will and democracy as an inalienable human right. Men and women who, as their military forbearers did throughout our history, answered the call to defend and protect this right with courage and honor. They are the American man-at-arms for a cause greater than themselves and for the greater good of mankind, because freedom is never freely given. Many laid down their lives in obedience and belief in this fundamental right, and we must honor those sacrifices by never giving up and never giving in.

Through out history Freedom and Liberty has worn many uniforms, engaged in many wars, and won many battles to remain alive and breathing. What is the price we pay to defend and protect our independence? There will always be many arguments and dissentions for the answer to this question, just as war is Freedom’s cost, and disagreement is one of Freedom’s benefits. Thomas Jefferson said “the price for freedom is eternal vigilance”. Our history clearly shows that Freedom and Liberty was worth living, fighting and dying for, and to keep it strong and secure for our children and grandchildren’s future. Perhaps it will survive after all, and remain a noble cause worthy to believe in and fight for that will forever be greater than ourselves.

I come from a generation where it was never old fashioned or out of style to stand up and show pride and patriotism, and a deep rooted respect for those hard earned stars and stripes. I sleep well at night knowing Freedom and Liberty is guarded and protected by the greatest military on the earth. I am thankful that Freedom and Liberty’s sons and daughters answered the call of duty through the ages to watch over and defend this Great American Experiment. I am hopeful that this nation will continue to flourish in the future as the land of the free and the home of the brave. Most of all, I am grateful for the courageous young men and women who go forth and fight the enemy in the sands of Babylon, and on their soil. So we don’t have to do it on ours.”We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” – George Orwell

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