Summary: Memorial Day is a day to remember the ultimate sacrifice that many men and women gave to this country and to you and me personally. But I also want us to remember another meaning behind Memorial Day which is to honor the greatest sacrifice of all time whe

“The Cost of Freedom”

Slogan: "Freedom isn't free", "freedom is not free", or "freedom ain't free" is an idiom in the United States that expresses gratitude for the service of members of the military. It implicitly states that the freedoms enjoyed by many citizens in Western republics are only possible through the voluntary risks taken and sacrifices made by the military. A problem with the saying is that a particular war or military engagement may not be fought in any particular sense for the freedoms of Americans but what are viewed by some groups within the U.S., as national interests.


Poem: Penned by Kelly Strong: Commander Unites States Coast Guard

This poem is important to Kelly because he wrote it as a high school senior (JROTC cadet) at Homestead High, Homestead, FL. in 1981. It is a tribute to his father, a career marine who served two tours in Vietnam. When he finds others trying to take credit for the authorship of the poem, Kelly sees it as a dishonor to the man who inspired the poem, his Dad.


I watched the flag pass by one day,

It fluttered in the breeze;

A young Marine saluted it,

And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform,

So young, so tall, so proud;

With hair cut square and eyes alert,

He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought ... how many men like him

Had fallen through the years?

How many died on foreign soil?

How many mothers' tears?

How many pilot's planes shot down?

How many died at sea?

How many foxholes were soldiers graves?

No ... Freedom is not Free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,

When everything was still;

I listened to the bugler play,

And felt a sudden chill;

I wondered just how many times

That Taps had meant "Amen,"

When a flag had draped a coffin

Of a brother or a friend;

I thought of all the children,

Of the mothers and the wives,

Of fathers, sons and husbands ...

With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard

At the bottom of the sea,

Of unmarked graves in Arlington ...

No ... Freedom is not Free!

~ Kelly StrongĀ© 1981 ~

The reminder for all of us today on Memorial Day Weekend is that freedom is not free and it rings in our minds that sacrifices do cost us. The reality check is sacrifices or offerings which cost us nothing usually have no eternal value.

A Chicago Story from


Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn’t famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder. Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good!

In fact, Eddie’s skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block. Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had the best of everything: clothes, cars and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn’t pass on to his son: a good name and a good example.

One day, Eddie reached a difficult decision. Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against the Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie’s life ended in a blaze of gunfire in a lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he would ever pay.

You could say as a result of this true story that Eddie’s freedom was not free it cost him his life but his sacrifice set his son and family free.

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