Posted: October 30, 2023

It is a day of celebration a day that we honor America’s Veterans for their willingness to serve and sacrifice for their love of county. Many people take for granted their Freedom when they should be respectful to these fine men and women. I am involved in many ways with helping Veterans and raising money to help those that are in need. I also look forward to the ceremonies that we do to say Thank You. Hearing their stories and hugging them for who they are is a daily occurrence in my life. I asked a Veterans who is a close friend to allow me to share something that he wrote in this article.

The phrase “freedom isn’t free” is often used to express gratitude for those who have served and sacrificed for our nation in times of conflict.   It’s personal for some, but unfortunately, it’s also a well- meaning cliché for many.  For those of us who have served our nation in combat, it’s an intensely personal weight we carry in our hearts.   So let me describe the level of service and sacrifice I’ve personally witnessed among our young men and women in uniform.  I’ve witnessed a young specialist explain to my grade school aged daughter how the “bad guys” would have to go through 500 soldiers before they could ever harm her father.  That specialist was later wounded with a piece of shrapnel in his eye from a mortar round exploding in our base camp.  I’ve witnessed a young sergeant, a female medic, who begged me to allow her to be a combat soldier and man a checkpoint in downtown Baghdad.  I reluctantly agreed, and she was later wounded by a stray round while serving with an infantry battalion on a checkpoint in a contested area of the city.  Lastly, I witnessed a staff sergeant pull a young soldier out of the cupola of my personal vehicle and replaced him with himself because it was too dangerous for a young, unproven soldier.  That staff sergeant was grievously wounded in the head less than 30 minutes later.  In all of these cases, these soldiers survived and refused to abandon their duty.  In each case, they continued serving in combat after they healed from their wounds. These soldiers are not unique. Rather, they are representative of the millions of Americans who have served and sacrificed for their fellow countrymen.  In the end, the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine doesn’t fight because he or she hates what’s in front them. They serve and sacrifice because they love what’s behind them.   We owe these young men and

women a debt of gratitude, because they have personally demonstrated with their blood and tears that freedom isn’t free!

Paul H  US Army  (retired)

Please always say thank you to those that have served not just on Veterans Day, they signed a blank check to give you a better life.

God Bless our Veterans and their families that served in many ways,

BG Parkes


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