Memorial Day 2022: Freedom Is Not Free

Dear Friends—as we take some time to reflect and remember this weekend and especially tomorrow, it is essential for those of us who are not directly involved in serving our country through the military to honor those who served and sacrificed on our behalf.

As the expression goes (but is never repeated often enough): “All gave some, and some gave all.” In Hampshire County, we live in an especially beautiful corner of the world, with a high standard of living and quality of life. We are very safe and well-insulated from the horrors of invasion by a national enemy. And we enjoy this peace and freedom thanks to the dedication and sacrifice of those who served, and who continue to serve. I am so happy when I am out in our community and I see a proud veteran of the Vietnam War especially—because those veterans were not thanked for their service at the time, and in fact were reviled as complicit co-conspirators in a war we came to regret. Most had no choice in serving, having been drafted and not having the wherewithal or inclination to try to avoid serving. And now we have come to appreciate their sacrifice. No matter the type of service, war takes a toll. Some experience physical injuries and all pay costs in their emotional and mental health to some degree. The losses mount, and some never fully “recover;”—I often cringe at that word because it seems to imply that the person is or should be “fine” again, or that full recovery is the expectation and the person somehow fails themselves and the rest of us if they don’t recover. As a country, we don’t do enough for our returning veterans and their families, as the recent efforts to close our local VA indicate. We need to do more, not less, and we all need to remember—especially those of us who have the privilege to have others serve on our behalf—that freedom is not free. To all who serve, and your families who serve with you: THANK YOU. Yvonne