Tuesday, February 21, 2012

At What Cost?

What does it cost to be free? From our country's beginnings, brave soldiers have fought and paid the ultimate price for the freedoms that are the hallmark of this nation. The toll in lives lost is staggering, but the cost is not measured in terms of lives lost alone.

As families are separated for extended periods of time, the price of military service comes in many ways: strained marital relationships, money problems, discipline issues with children, missed employment possibilities and more. There is a drain on society for our soldiers to defend our country.

As heavy as the above costs are, they often pale against those faced personally by returning veterans. Reintegrating into a society that is sometimes at odds both with the returning vet and the idea of war is no picnic. Compounding this for many veterans coming home is the war-related trauma he or she may have experienced on the battlefield.

I recently received a link to a YouTube video that highlights this cost. You can view it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VmUulPab4M. (If the link is not active, just copy and paste the URL in your browser window.) This video disturbed me. Watching the numbers of returning veterans who face suicide, depression, post-traumatic stress, homelessness, divorce and unemployment is not a pretty picture.

But there are rays of hope. Veterans are educated, dedicated and hard-working members of society. I would encourage you to check out the Operation Barnabas website at http://www.lhmmen.com/barnabas.asp for information on how you can help make our returning veterans' arrival back home a smoother one.

Let's bring down the cost of freedom, especially for those who courageously work to preserve it.

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