A life is a high price to pay. Freedom is not free. It is a gift afforded by countless people. As we gather to celebrate Memorial Day and honor our fallen brethren, I thought it might be nice to remember the freedom retained as a result of their sacrifices.
For instance, in a time when people provide continual status updates around the clock on their whereabouts, what they’re thinking, and who or what they like or don’t like, it becomes real easy to forget that our freedom of speech is a luxury of living in a free country. “The truth shall set you free,” from John 8:32 captures the power of that freedom from a spiritual perspective. Also, when we get to freely speak our truth, we are able to grow in emotional intelligence and improve our physiological health.
Spiritual, emotional and physical health is a giant reward for speaking our truth. No wonder freedom of speech is addressed the FIRST Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
This First Amendment is chock full of essential freedoms that allow us to live life at such an optimal level that we are able to explore, stretch and be more creative and innovative in all of our pursuits. The rest of the amendments and the entirety of the Constitution does more. So much more. Isn’t it nice that we don’t have to worry about it and can go to sleep thinking about whatever creative venture is on our plate at the moment?
I have personally taken free speech for granted. In therapy, we get to go deep and it’s all about speaking our truth. I shudder to think when people are silenced. I fight for human rights, social justice, and want to protect whistleblowers and employees that undergo bullying and mobbing. All of this could not be done if I did not live in a free country that values and protects my voice.
My first real job was serving active duty in the Air Force. I recall waking up and hearing the bugle and saluting the flag as it raised. It will be at half-mast tomorrow and I will think about my friend and fellow serviceman, Woody, who had lunch with me and then died a gruesome death a few hours later. I will remember my grandfather who served on the USS Indianapolis in WWII, the famous ship that was bombed and served as a premise for the movie, Jaws. I will think of my mother who gave her life to working with veterans. I will think of my cousin and his squadron and the troops he lost in Iraq. I will think of the rest of my family and friends and the countless others who gave their life. I will shout to the rooftops for them tomorrow and I will continually speak my truth and live my freedoms that they gave their lives to protect. I invite you to do the same. Speak your truth. Someone gave their life for it.