Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Freedom ain't free
Thad Ray

It's been a while since I've sat down and written. After going to school and working full time for the past nine months, I was simply burned out. I avoided my computer, I didn't write anything, didn't work on any computer related projects, I even deactivated my facebook account for a few weeks.
If you follow my blog regularly, you'll see that it's kind of therapy for me. The inside of my head is a jumbled mess of thoughts and words and ideas, and writing is the way that I make sense of that chaos. Often I don't even know my thoughts on a subject until I see it come out on paper (well, my computer screen).
I'd been thinking about writing again for a while now, and I have a lot of stuff that I want to write about, but I hadn't really felt the urge to write. Sometimes you just need a break.
I chatted with Rob [Alway] a week or so ago and we talked a bit about writing, and I explained to him kind of what was going on, but I told him that I'd have something for him soon. I had some ideas, but wasn't really sure what I wanted to write about.
In Ludington, Memorial weekend is a big thing. The population multiplies exponentially, there are people everywhere, the beaches and parks are in full swing, and the heat is usually here to stay. For us it really is the start of summer.
While Memorial weekend is usually a festive time, underneath its happy exterior lies a more somber reason that a lot of us seem to forget, or not be concerned about, or take for granted.
With the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, news of U.S. soldiers being killed, and the amount of coverage we see, the reason for Memorial day has been weighing heavier on my mind than it ever has previously.
I'm not a fan of big government. I think the government should serve the people and not vice versa. More specifically I'm not a fan of our government. I think that it's a self serving entity that has it's own best interest at heart, and not the best interest of the American people.
My feelings about the government aren't the topic of this post though. I shared them to illustrate one of the freedoms that we have. I can still love America, be patriotic, and not like the government.
I would like to say that I'm anti-war, but I'm not. I believe that war is sometimes necessary to fight oppression, battle injustice, and right wrongs. As much as that saddens me, that's just the way it is.
There are wars that I am opposed to however, especially ones fought under false pretenses, but again, that is not the subject of this post.
As an American, I often forget how good we have it here, the things we take for granted. But on Memorial day it really hits home that those things didn't come for free, and that everything that we take for granted was payed for in blood.
There is no greater sacrifice that a man can make than to lay down his life in the promotion of freedom, and for this I am eternally grateful. For those who have given their lives so we could be free. How do you even hope to find the words to express the depth of gratitude that we should have for the countless that have died defending American ideals?
I know that Memorial Day has passed, and we'll go back to our jobs and our day to day lives, and as the real world creeps back in, the sacrifice made by our friends and family members will slowly fade to the back of our consciousness until next Memorial Day. In the meantime though, there are people all over the world whose 9 to 5 is protecting those freedoms that we take for granted. So maybe every once in a while, while you're watching T.V. in your air conditioned living room, eating Cheetos and drinking beer, you can take the time to be thankful for the people who are out there making sure that you can do that.
As easy as it is to take the things we have for granted, and then complain about how tough our lives are, the bottom line is, those things weren't given to us. Throughout the course of history, Millions of people have died so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have today.
I would like to say thank you to everyone who has shed their blood so I could live in this great country, and while I'm not a big fan of the government, I'm a huge fan of America. To all the people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, I salute you. I understand that freedom ain't free.