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Publisher / Editor:
Paul Hayden

Remember the Price of Freedom

Remember those who saved our freedom.

May 24, 2021

For many, Memorial Day isn’t given much thought; people are looking forward to a trip to the beach or a family get-together. But, everyone needs to step back and remember that a price has been paid, allowing them to enjoy their family outing.

From the start of what would become the United States of America, it seems almost every generation has had to face a war to pay for their right to be free. Someone had to step forward and put on the uniform of the United States, march off to war, and literally face hell on earth.

After each war, the cost has to be tallied up in destroyed lives and broken bodies. The lucky families got their family members back and tried to pick up from where they left off. Others have come back broken and had to adjust to a different way of life. The unlucky families have had no one come home, knowing that at all future family gatherings, there will be a chair that is always empty. Most of those families at least knew where their loved one was buried. Families of those missing in action will never know, their loved one’s whereabouts are unknown. 

Over the past couple of decades, DNA, the road map of human existence has been decoded to a level that allows for the identification of the dead. The use of DNA to identify U.S. military war dead has started to shrink the number of those missing in action. Even those lost in earlier wars, on battlefields scattered around the world, are being identified.

Recently, my family was contacted for a DNA sample to verify the remains of a cousin that went missing during the Second World War Battle of the Bulge. U.S. Army TEC Sargent Robert Vernon Jeter, 83rd Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, was lost fighting the 2nd SS Panzer (tank) regiment in Manhay, Belgium on 26 December 1944.

This was about as far as the 2nd SS Panzer was able to advance in their drive to split the allied forces, by taking the port of Antwerp, Belgium. It was with grudging respect, the NAZIs referred to the combat demolition teams as those “Damn Engineers.” For their nasty little habit of blowing up one bridge after another, in some cases right out from under the 60-ton Tiger tanks, stopping the Germans from crossing the rivers. Fighting in some of the coldest weather on record, they bought the time needed for re-enforcements to arrive. Those additional troops, armor, and air support slammed into the German forces and relieved the isolated pockets of U.S. troops, pushing the German army into a full retreat, back into Germany.

If everything goes right, another soldier will finally get his name back, and get to come home. So this Memorial Day, remember those that have been lost and those who are still waiting to be found. When the phrase, “the price of freedom,” is used, it represents not only those lost, it also represents the families that are affected.

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