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News > Commentary - Supporting the cause of freedom throughout the year
Supporting the cause of freedom throughout the year

Posted 6/27/2012   Updated 6/27/2012 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Army Chaplain (Col.) Richard Quinn
USARAK Chaplain


6/27/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- I sat under the blue-and-white-striped canopy at Monterey Lakes Memorial Park at Fort Wainwright as 21 black granite memorial stones glistened in the sun under a warm Alaska blue sky.

Twenty-one Soldiers stood watch over the markers in final honor to their fallen friends and fellow warriors.

Sitting in a wheelchair in front of me was a Soldier with no legs. We clapped and I noticed him slapping his chest - he only had one arm.

Gold Star families stared longingly at 21 memorial displays and photos in mournful silence as the names were read, rounds fired, and Taps played by a lone bugler.

With pain too deep for the rest of us to truly understand the grieving say, "Thank you," as we extend our hand or give a comforting hug.

While we in U. S. Army Alaska paused on May 16 to reflect on the cost of a deployment, the rest of America went about their business unaware, just like every other day in the land of the free.

I returned to my office at USARAK where the morning event had begun and opened my email.

A friend had sent me a "thought for the day" from the American Revolutionary, Thomas Paine. "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

On the evening news I watch politicians argue and newscasters editorialize about the financial cost of combat.

The "man-on-the-street" answers a reporter's question without having done military service, as he ignorantly speaks for all our common citizenry.

A few seconds of airtime and a commercial comes on for SUVs only to be ironically followed by the next news sound-bite on gas prices.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

Game shows, reality shows, American Idol - everyone is wanting to reap the blessings of financial freedom by luck, wit, guts, talent or charm.

We watch with intrigue as winners strut and losers cry foul.

Millionaire athletes, Hollywood celebs, rap and rock star musicians - everyone is an expert on freedom, fidelity and foreign policy.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it."

As I walk the "Warrior's Walk" around Memorial Park in my mind each day, I pray for the fallen, I pray for the families, I pray for the wounded, I pray for the Soldiers deployed. I pray for the Soldiers yet to come.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it."



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