Friday, November 10, 2006

The Price of Freedom

SGT Stokley headstoneThe price of freedom is very high and very dear for so many families. Robert Stokely lost his son Mike last year and has shared his thoughts about the cost his family has paid.

SGT Mike Stokely US Army
KIA Iraq 16 Aug 05
E Troop 108 CAV 48 BDE

People say freedom isn’t free, yet everyday most enjoy freedom at no cost to themselves. But for the American Soldier and their families the cost is great.

Some bear physical wounds and scars while others bear emotional wounds that never heal.

Some lose irreplaceable time with their children for events like birth, each birthday, winning homerun, first place at band competition and many other daily events can’t be adequately captured by video, even in real time.

Some come home so changed, that they can’t re-adapt to what they left, nor can those at home adapt to the person who came home.

Some face grave financial hardship which alters family prosperity for a lifetime.

In the end, all who serve and their families pay a price for freedom.

I have been asked what I thought the real cost of the fight for freedom was. Mike Stokely would have made a great dad, granddad, and uncle, for he was a great husband, son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin. 144 years and six generations before Mike Stokely’s death, William G. Stokely died as a prisoner of war in the Civil War. There will be no 144 years and six generations from Mike Stokely, for he had no children. The sound at Christmas, birthdays, vacations, and holidays will not hear the happy cries of children saying watch me daddy or hey uncle Mike. Mike Stokely will never be asked “who gives this woman in marriage”? Mike Stokely will not even get to grieve and shed a tear at the grave of his parents. For Mike Stokely and our family, the cost of freedom is a lifetime of love.

Soldiers do not serve for money, fame, or future. Soldiers are the few who care enough to sacrifice some or all of their life so that the majority do not have to.

Remembering them one day a year is little enough to give back. To the Veterans who lived to come home, thank you for serving and thank you for living. To the fallen, especially my son, I can never thank you enough for what you have given and the best I can do is to remember and honor your sacrifice.

Robert Stokely

Showing gratitude for something so precious, given freely, is the very least we can do for our veterans, for those who did not come home and to their families.
Hat tip: Andi of Andi's World