Freedom Is Not Free

posted at 8:56 am on May 29, 2006 by Bryan

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A very moving tribute. I always have a hard time keeping dry-eyed when Taps is sounded. The added imagery made it even harder. Thanks for reminding people that there is more to Memorial Day than furniture sales, BBQs and a day off from work.

Greg(Former CPT, Army)

DAT60A3 on May 29, 2006 at 9:10 AM

Nice, respectful tribute.
Now it’s Memorial Day. The official day to acknowledge the sacrifices our troops have made in assuring our freedom.
And all weekend I’ve heard referrences to Rep. Murtha and his conviction that a group of US sildiers had murdered a group of innocent civilians in late ’05. Murtha is quite certain that he has all the facts. That’s why it’s OK for him to go on national television on Memorial Day Weekend and inform us that of the quarter-million or so active-duty personnel that have served honorably in that savage place a few have done bad things.
We should all be thankful to Rep. Murtha. Without “hawks” like him we’d only be getting one side of the story right? We’d only be hearing the “good news” from Iraq, not the “real story!”
Two days ago a US helicopter went down in Anwar Province. Last I heard two crewmembers are still missing. When I think about those two pilots, and what might be happening to them at this moment, I feel a bit queasy. We’ve all seen THOSE videos!
But I guess Rep. Murtha has some knowledge of their status. I mean he would look like a traitorous fool if he repeatedly came out on Memorial Day Weekend passing judgement on un-convicted US troops and their propensity toward bad behavior, while completely ignoring the fate of two possible prisoners of the animals WE ARE AT WAR WITH!
Rep. Murtha, which side would YOU rather be held captive by. The “insurgency” or by the torturing, murdering US military?

Gault on May 29, 2006 at 9:42 AM

Heading out in a bit to my town’s Memorial Day tribute.
Treat this day as if it is sacred.

Doug on May 29, 2006 at 9:43 AM

Thanks MM and the whole crew at Hot Air. This really means alot. I am sure there are more than a few of us who have fallen comrades to remember, not to mention those thousands we have never met, but that gave all so we could exist as a country. We should never forget.

jcon96 on May 29, 2006 at 9:51 AM

God bless the fallen and their families…

mike hale on May 29, 2006 at 10:03 AM

We as parents/caregivers must make it a priority to teach our kids the importance of this day. The stories are powerful the ceremonies go straight to the heart. Make our kids aware of the meaning of this day, and they will surely remember and respect all our men and women in the military and what they have done and continue to do for us.

stevevader on May 29, 2006 at 10:46 AM


“Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American G.I. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom. Thank them both today.”

And while you are remembering the fallen today,

“If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.”

Major Michael Davis O’Donnell, 1 Jan 70, Dak To, Vietnam, KIA 24 March 70.

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on May 29, 2006 at 10:48 AM

Very nice. Last time I heard Taps was at my fathers funeral last year. Hearing it now makes me even more angry at the seditious liberal democrat traitors using the right to free speech, won for them ONLY because of God, and the blood and sacrifice of real American’s, to mess up our Country.

God Bless our troops, and God help the United States.

NRA4Freedom on May 29, 2006 at 10:57 AM

One thing our fallen heroes did not make the ultimate sacrifice for was to preserve what is happening on our nation’s southern border. Honor them by funding one foot of fence at

but better hurry before it’s over-subscribed!

Crude One on May 29, 2006 at 11:06 AM

“God Bless our troops, and God help the United States”. Everyone should take a little time today and say a prayer for are men and women in the Armed Services fighting overseas.

birdman on May 29, 2006 at 12:06 PM

Thank you…to our courageous troops and veterans, and to everyone who fights for freedom, truth and goodness in this country and abroad. There is such a thing as right and wrong…good and evil.

I have three young boys, and I will encourage them all to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. This country is far from perfect, but it is the last best hope.

Thank you to Michelle and all the other Internet truth-tellers who are fighting in a war of words against the pied pipers of Socialism and/or self-gratification.

MT on May 29, 2006 at 12:31 PM

N4A4Freedom: try not to rant on this day, ok? There’s 364 days when the partisan bickering is fine, just not today. Those who died, died for all of us. It’s very disrespectful to claim their sacrifice as sacred and meaningful only to your side of the political debate. Shame.

honora on May 29, 2006 at 12:33 PM

My life has been one of many trials and tribulations, as have the lives of most. The men I served with in Vietnam are forever etched into my memory, both those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, and those fortunate to return. Visiting the wall was probably the most defining moment in my life. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit with friends who were lost in that quagmire, but also stunned at my personal lack of composure. Never before in my life did such a simplistic walk through memory lane have such an effect on me. Approaching the wall was difficult, but when viewing it, the remembrances all came crashing down and reduced me to a quivering mass of humanity. With absolutely no shame, I recall crying for those lost, and in all probability crying for my salvation. This was a defining moment in my life.

Thousands have visited the wall, and most come away with an inspired reverence from the experience. It is indeed humbling to know you were chosen to live, while others were taken for seemingly inconsequential reasons. I believe that each and every man who was sacrificed during this conflict died gloriously wrapped in our beloved flag. We shall never forget them or their sacrifice. They were indeed the ‘best and the brightest’ the nation had to offer. Many of us are nearing the end of our charmed lives. In the future we will be afforded the opportunity to visit with our fallen comrades. They served our nation magnificently, and it will indeed be an honor to once again stand by their sides as they are the nation’s true heroes.

To Emmett Horn, a true friend, lost on that December day in ’64, you are not forgotten.

Vietnam Veteran 1963-64, 1966-67, 1969

Grouper on May 29, 2006 at 12:52 PM

Thank you Grouper. Thank you, and God bless you.

MT on May 29, 2006 at 1:23 PM

This IS a sacred day. A day for reverence, respect, remembering and thanks.

There is no “debate”. We are RIGHT. And we have every right to loathe those who spit on the sacrifices of our soldiers by their actions and their relentless attachment to Godless ambitions promoting their own power.

Despite the attempted pronouncement of some sort of ‘day off’ by the plastic lefties, NRA4Freedom (and ALL of us) has every reason and right to feel true hatred for the duplicitous hypocrits who would try to use this day of honor to put us all on the same side. We are NOT. And because we NEVER WILL BE, we take action to secure the liberty for all in our country to speak freely… whether it fits the politics of all or not.

Freedom provides us with NO DAY OF SILENCE.

NRA4Freedom, I thank your father for his sacrifice to our great country. I also thank him for raising a son who cares to speak out with the rest of us.

God Bless the true American Patriot.

horsepower_1st on May 29, 2006 at 1:38 PM

…and THANK YOU to DAT60A3, Dread Pirate Roberts’ Major Michael Davis O’Donnell, Grouper and all those who sacrificed directly or through the losses of family and friends.

A respectful salute from one who truly appreciates and remains trapped in Liberal Hell.

horsepower_1st on May 29, 2006 at 1:46 PM


It’s not often one sees the terms “feel true hated” and “God” in the same post. One of the things that makes me uncomfortable about today’s conservatives (the ones who highjacked the movement, IMO) is this need to always play the victim and the put upon–the victim of whom is anyone’s guess–and the sole possessor of virtue (God loves that attitude, I’m certain….)

I am the daughter and the husband of veterans who served in wartime. I do not require, not desire, your approval. Nice job with the capital letters BTW. Such nuance.

God bless our veterans and all true patriots who take today to thank God for our country’s blessings.

honora on May 29, 2006 at 1:55 PM

very nicely done, very respectful. Thanks.

vcferlita on May 29, 2006 at 2:28 PM

You know, honora, for someone who doesn’t want any partisan bickering, you’re pretty good about rolling the handgrenade into the room and walking away. The vets who have died, have indeed died for any and everyone in the country who yearn to be free. The sad thing is, a fair percentage of those they died for are disrepectful dirtbags who spit on those values held dear by those vets who went to fight and by many of us who didn’t. No one has hijacked the conservative movement. We’re not a bunch of lock step losers like the lefties who come together for the sole purpose of accumulating power. Many of us will probably disagree on a variety of things except for the fact that despite our differences, we all love this country very much. I don’t regard myself as part of a movement. My view of a conservative is I am someone who is suspicious of group think and view ‘movements’ as something not to step in. I have a view of America as a great place because people are constantly striving to make it so, not because we put any one party or the other in charge. I think that’s why so many conservatives despise the media. Elect the correct party, and everything is great; elect the wrong party, and welcome to the lower circle of hell. We won’t print good news until you elect the right party. At any rate, I don’t think conservatives claim ownership of what vets have died for; we just happen to agree and appreciate what they did and don’t mind saying so. As to your last post, I’m curious. Who are the true patriots? Care to define that one for the room?

austinnelly on May 29, 2006 at 2:33 PM

My definition of a true patriot would be one would puts aside their personal well being for the greater good of their country. Whether this takes the form of military service or volunteering their community or speaking out on serious issues is not important. One of my favorite quotes: “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime”. (mistake in above post, “wife” not “husband”.

honora on May 29, 2006 at 2:49 PM

Um, violating your own self-imposed “rant” ban, are we “honora”?

Yes, I realize that you liberals don’t ever “hate” anyone. Especially if they are Taliban, Al Qaeda or us dreaded conservatives. “Today’s conservatives” (that bother you so much) still believe in those pesky morals and ethics. Worse yet, they have the spine to say so. How apalling. It must make blurring the black and white, right and wrong issues, much tougher to paint your lovely hue of grey. I certainly hope so! (Whoops… shouldn’t have used that exclamation point… like CAPITAL LETTERS, that might exhibit some emphasis or conviction? I should have surmised that to be out of bounds in Lib World, too.)

We are hardly anything “victim” like at all, nor will we become such thanks to those convictions we hold dear. You know, the one’s you find so worrysome.

Despite your claimed position as “the daughter and the husband” (I should have guessed it) you will NEVER get my approval whether you desire it, require it or otherwise.

Lastly, before I go disgorge over your mock patriotism, the “country’s blessings”, that we dedicate today’s remembrance for, stand in every town and city of this great nation. And they stand in Afghanistan, Iraq, S. Korea, etc… If you had any real sense of any of that, you wouldn’t be objecting to any “rants”…

PS: Bravo, austinnelly!

horsepower_1st on May 29, 2006 at 3:00 PM

Honora –

It is unmistakably clear that you are the only one here disrespecting this day; you are the only one here choosing debate over reverence.

If you mean a word of what you wrote – then make them your last words on this thread. If you choose to continue the bickering … well, that will speak volumes about your character.

There are other things to think about today.

Here’s one: I spent my morning in a Nashville cemetery, honoring Union and Confederate fallen soldiers. It was a first for me – pondering my conflicted emotions, torn between respect for all fallen warriors and sadness that our bloodiest war pitted us against each other.

I found one old soldier particularly interesting: the grave of Richard Ewell, a General who served under Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg. Something about finding the final resting place of a man I’d read and studied was immeasurably moving.

The sacrifice of all of those men – in that war and every other since and before – humbles me beyond words.

No closing thought; my thoughts are too jumbled for coherence at the moment.

Just one thought: I LOVE this country; I’m so glad I served in uniform; I’m so fortunate to have lived in a place that puts freedom and honor ahead of life itself.

I’d say God bless America, but it seems unnecessary today … since its so clear that He already has.

God bless all of you.

Professor Blather on May 29, 2006 at 3:47 PM

Prof. Blather
I just today finished “The March” by EL Doctorow. It follows General Sherman through the Carolinas. I was moved by the story. It really brought that period of our history to life through the eyes of military officers and the troops.
And since I’m recommending Civil War books -(a subject that until 9/11 seemed boring to me), I’ll also recommend a series written by Ralph Peters of the Washington Post. Although he has many books, fiction and not, written under his own name, he wrote the series using the psueudonym Owen Parry. The first book is called “Faded coat of Blue.”

Gault on May 29, 2006 at 4:34 PM

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields…

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields…

horsepower_1st on May 29, 2006 at 4:45 PM

I have just returned from my duty placing flowers and remembrances upon the graves of those so deserving, those so forever deserving, of our perpetual honor.

So I have a question for you all…

Have you cried yet today?

Well, if not, read this:

Already shed some tears? …Read it anyway.

God Bless Them All.

horsepower_1st on May 29, 2006 at 5:08 PM

Good post horsepower…that’s twice I’ve cried today. Taps gets me every time. That article…nothing I can say to add to that. Thanks for catching that. I don’t check Opinionjournal as often as I should. I probably miss a lot of good stuff.

austinnelly on May 29, 2006 at 6:06 PM


Me too… I dissolve whenever Taps is played. This whole day has been an emotional upheaval from start to finish. It marks the difference between true meaning and just symbolism.

I stumbled onto the Opinion Journal article by chance. It was from April, but I sure was glad I found it.

I’m spending the remainder of this day hugging my wonderful wife and two great dogs. I wish you all an equivalent source of comfort and satisfaction. God Bless America can’t be repeated too many times.

horsepower_1st on May 29, 2006 at 6:33 PM

A tribute from my blog – The Gathering Storm.

To my fellow veterans – and Yankee Doodle Dandies. Mr.George M. Cohan has stated it more eloquently than I:

“It seems it always happens. Whenever we get too high-hat and too sophisticated for flag-waving, some thug nation decides we’re a push-over all ready to be blackjacked. And it isn’t long before we’re looking up, mighty anxiously, to be sure the flag’s still waving over us.”

WC on May 29, 2006 at 7:56 PM

Foto: “Mekong Delta, 1973.” After years in the war, finally, face to face with the Vietcong, down in that Delta, somewhere below My Tho. (Original black and white print.)

gringoman on May 29, 2006 at 9:18 PM

Thanks for the shot of the Korean War Memorial Michelle. My father served and was severely wounded there. It truly is “The Forgotten War”. Another war that was unpopular, but undeniably necessary to advance the cause of freedom and stem the tide of evil. We should remember this in light of the curent debate over Iraq.

sbvft contributor on May 29, 2006 at 10:28 PM

The Opinion Journal article reminded me of my first memory of my Dad. It was 1964 and I was not quite 4 years old when he returned from his first tour in Vietnam. I really had no idea who this guy was because he left when I was still 2 years old. The one thing that really sticks in my mind was that at the airport, he bought me one of those huge all-day suckers. Strange the things that stick in your mind. I think I’ll give my Dad a call.

DAT60A3 on May 29, 2006 at 10:54 PM

To the men and women in our military, past, present and future and their families.

Thank you. God Bless you.

For those in harm’s way. Come home safe. God speed.

RolandHall on May 30, 2006 at 1:25 AM

My great grandfather fought at Gettysburg; his name is on the Pennsylvania Monument there.
My grandfather fought in WWI.
My dad was a pilot on a B17 bomber and flew more missions than he cared to remember.
I was raised to appreciate the efforts and sacrifices made
for me by the men and women of our military.

Thanks to you all…..

dbdiva on May 30, 2006 at 6:56 AM

Thanks horsepower…it has been over 15 years for me, but the sounds, smells and images of war come back all too quickly when you least expect it.

jcon96 on May 30, 2006 at 4:24 PM

Every single thing I own…Everything I am grateful for…Everything that gives me joy…Everything…I owe to those brave men who fought and died for my country and my freedom.

It’s a debt I can never repay.

ecamorg on May 31, 2006 at 9:38 PM