Paul Elisha: The Cost of Freedom


In announcing their intention to cancel this year’s Memorial Day Parade, in Saratoga Springs, New York, last week, the annual event’s sponsoring organization, listed a number of reasons, one of which really shocked this commentator’s sense of how cheaply, beyond dollar value, many of today’s Americans assess the worth of their so-called ‘Freedom.’  The sponsors literally stated the event was too ‘dollar-costly.’

At that moment, the full meaning of just how materialistically divided we’ve become, struck home.  Then, a flood of pointedly related questions arose:

In 1620, when the small colony of Pilgrims who’d landed in New England were literally starving to death, what if the Native Americans nearby had decided that a group of unsociable White strangers truly were of no concern to them?

What if the farmers of Lexington and Concord had just decided to mind their crops and their business?

What if the soldiers of General George Washington’s Continental Army had said they couldn’t afford to leave their homes and fight better armed and supplied British and Hessian professionals, while providing their own weapons, to boot; plus subsist on starvation rations and occasional substandard payments and supplies?

What if the thousands who gave up their lives at the horrendous battles of the Civil War had decided a united country, without the curse of slavery, simply wasn’t worth the cost or sacrifice?

What if the thousands of depression era sufferers had simply figured the nation was asking too much, for them to then sacrifice their lives all over the world and millions who supported them at home agreed, the price all were being asked to pay was simply too high?

Truth is, none of these requests were denied and in fact, for some Americans, similar sacrifices of life and limb are still being made, right now.  Except for one glaring exception.  They’re only being made by some of us, for all of us.  As for the rest, they’re counting the cost in dollars and far too many now believe the cost is simply too high.

It’s time to face up to the reality, that a few overly privileged and under appreciative Americans are enjoying the fruits of freedom, that all Americans have equal rights not only to aspire to but to earn.

As to the cost of any tribute to those who’ve sacrificed life and limb to win freedom for America, even if still lacking equal opportunity for all…  those who think the cost too high should visit the nearest VA Hospital or rehab program, then go and recount their blessings. 

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect the views of this station or its management.